Making, Breaking Codes

May 2012

Solid class. Dorian isn't necessarily the friendliest or warmest professor, but he does a good job of explaining some fairly complicated concepts and is fairly reasonable. The class covers cryptography and coding theory and the math behind them -- they're fairly interesting topics. He stresses this in the first class and he's right: the class is much harder than the first week or two would make it seem. The first few topics you cover are pretty easy and then things really take off. The sense I get, however, is that it's still easier than most upper-level math classes, though it's not a walk in the park by any means. One huge plus is that Dorian reviews the material a lot. In addition to the review sessions he gives before the second midterm and the final, he starts off each class by reviewing everything he taught in the previous class. This can be a bit tiresome if you're on top of everything, but it's great if you ever miss a class or just feel like you've fallen behind. He also writes an insane amount of notes on the board.

May 2008

Dorian Goldfeld is, simply put, the love of my math-life. His class is possibly the best math class I've ever taken. For the most part, he does a great job of explaining everything. His tests seemed to cover the material in a pretty fair manner, and the grades were curved. A lot.

May 2008

This class is probably one of the easier higher level math courses offered at Columbia. Number theory isn't a prereq for Codes, and it only crept up a couple of times during the course, and definitely won't ruin your chances of getting a good grade here. Prof Goldfeld writes a copious amount of notes on the board--literally every word he says--which is great when you're falling asleep during some of the less stimulating portions of the lecture. The material is different though and will take some getting used to; just make sure to read the text, and understand the homeworks. Aside from the disproportionate number of grad students taking the course, it's not that bad.