Math 317, Abstract Algebra, Spring 2003

in 243 Altgeld Hall, MWF at 10am (sect C1).
Web address:
This syllabus is available online at
and course news will be posted as appropriate.
John M. Sullivan,, 326 Illini Hall,
244-5930 (with answering machine); mailbox in 250 Altgeld.
Ngin-Tee Koh,
Office hours:
Mon 4:30-5:30, Tues 4:30-5:30, or by appointment.
Algebra: Pure and Applied, Aigli Papantonopoulou (Prentice Hall, 2002).
The official prerequisite is Math 247 and 315; in practice, we simply require a certain amount of mathematical maturity and willingness to think abstractly.
There will be weekly homework assignments, due on Wednesdays, usually with problems assigned from the textbook. The homework counts for about 30% of the course grade. No late homework will be accepted. Your two lowest homework scores will be dropped.
There will be two hour-tests on Fridays in class. These will be on Feb 28 and Apr 11; the exact material covered on each will be announced later. These tests together count for about 40% of your grade. The final exam covers the entire course, and counts for about 30% of the course grade. The final exam will be 8-11am Tue 13 May.
This course introduces abstract algebra through the theory of groups and rings. Groups are a mathematical expression of how symmetries relate. Rings generalize the familiar arithmetic operations on integers. We will consider applications of these ideas, including to cryptography.