Classical Papers in Systems Security Thorsten Holz


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Classical Papers in Systems Security

This proseminar will focus on an introduction to software security, network security, privacy, reverse engineering, and similar systems security topics. Students are expected to independently investigate a narrowly defined topic, usually based on classic scientific papers from this area. Given that the main purpose of a proseminar is to learn presentation skills, two presentations are expected from each student. Each student will be assigned two papers, one of which must be studied during the first half of the semester and the second during the second half. Since presentation skills and writing skills are closely related, a very short report - no more than 2 pages - must also be submitted for each presentation. Attendance is mandatory and the meetings will be in person or virtual.

In this proseminar, students learn to work independently on a narrowly defined topic based on scientific literature. At the beginning of the semester, we will provide advice and resources to help you prepare and deliver a scientific presentation. During the first half of the semester, two topics are presented each week. After each presentation, fellow students and the instructor provide feedback on how to improve the presentation. This general feedback must then be taken into account in the second half of the semester, when again each student gives a presentation on the second paper. Students will learn to understand specialized literature on a particular topic and gain insight into current research questions. By giving two talks, students learn to present scientific results on complex topics and to elaborate on the topic. In addition, students can practice writing scientific texts and summarizing complex topics.


Important Dates

  • The kickoff meeting for this proseminar is on Wednesday, April 20, at 10:00 o'clock via Zoom.
  • We plan to assign topics shortly after the kick-off meeting.
  • The first meetings will begin in early-May, we will discuss the schedule at the kickoff meeting.



  • Based on the assigned topic, you will present your topic in two talks of 20 minutes each. Each talk is followed by a discussion of about 10 minutes. You should practice the presentation and will receive feedback on your slides in advance. The presentation will contribute 25% each to your final grade (50%).
  • You write a short report (about two pages) summarizing each of the two papers. The summaries will each contribute 15% to your final grade (30%).
  • Your participation in the discussion after each talk contributes 20% to your final grade.

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