Though the book contains advanced material, such as cryptography on elliptic curves, Goppa codes using algebraic curves over finite fields, and the recent AKS polynomial primality test, the authors' objective has been to keep the exposition as self-contained and elementary as possible. Therefore the book will be useful to students and researchers, both in theoretical (e.g. mathematicians) and in applied sciences (e.g. physicists, engineers, computer scientists, etc.) seeking a friendly introduction to the important subjects treated here. The book will also be useful for teachers who intend to give courses on these topics.
The first chapter of the book explains how to do proofs and includes a brief discussion of lemmas, propositions, theorems, and corollaries. The core of the text covers linear Diophantine equations; unique factorization; congruences; Fermat’s, Euler’s, and Wilson’s theorems; order and primitive roots; and quadratic reciprocity. The authors also discuss numerous cryptographic topics, such as RSA and discrete logarithms, along with recent developments.
The book offers many pedagogical features. The "check your understanding" problems scattered throughout the chapters assess whether students have learned essential information. At the end of every chapter, exercises reinforce an understanding of the material. Other exercises introduce new and interesting ideas while computer exercises reflect the kinds of explorations that number theorists often carry out in their research.