Cur­rent To­pics in Systems Se­cu­ri­ty Thorsten Holz


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Cur­rent To­pics in Systems Se­cu­ri­ty

For the first time, we offer a seminar on "Current Topics in Systems Security". The focus areas of this seminar are software security, network security, privacy, reverse engineering and similar topics. Students are expected to independently investigate a narrowly defined topic, typically based on recently published scientific papers. They are expected to write a text summarizing their findings and prepare a presentation on the topic. The text should be about 15 pages long, while the presentation should be about 20 minutes long. This will be complemented by a discussion on the topic.

The seminar is organized similar to a scientific conference. In addition to writing a summary of a particular topic, students also learn about the peer-review process: An important aspect of the seminar is constructive feedback on other students' reports, e.g., in the form of suggestions on how to improve the writing and presentation. Students should then also use this feedback to improve their own text. The seminar will take place at the end of the semester as part of a block seminar, there will be no weekly classes.

The students get to know methods in research-related teaching and are able to study a closely defined topic on their own based on scientific literature. The students learn to understand technical literature on a specific topic and obtain insights into current research topics. The students can practice to write scientific texts and the summary of complex subject areas. The students learn more about the peer-review process and scientific work in general. Furthermore, the talk enables students to learn to present scientific results and deepen the subject.



The list of topics and papers for this year's seminar can be found here.


Important Dates

  • The kickoff meeting for this seminar is on Tuesday, October 26. The exact time and format will be announced on October 20. Topic assignments will happen on October 27.
  • By the end of November, you need to prepare an outline of your seminar paper.
  • Before the Christmas break, you need to submit a full draft of your seminar paper.
  • We will assign two seminar papers to you and you are expected to write reviews for both of them (due end of January)
  •  You will receive three reviews for your seminar paper and are expected to revise your writing based on this feedback. You can submit the final version of your paper by the end of February.
  • The presentations will be organized in a block seminar during the semester break, dates to be fixed at the kick-off meeting. Participation is mandatory.



  • Based on the assigned topic, you will write a seminar paper that summarizes the topic. The paper should be 15 pages long, we will provide a template. The paper contributes 40% to your final grade.
  • You will write two reviews to provide feedback for seminar papers written by your fellow students. More details on the review process will be provided during the kickoff meeting. In addition to your review, you need to submit 2-3 questions that you plan to ask the presenter of the paper during the block seminar. We will also publish a template for the reviews. Each review contributes 15% to your final grade.
  • During the block seminar, you will present your topic in 20 minutes, followed by a discussion of about 15 minutes. You should practice the talk and you will get feedback on your slides in advance. The presentation contributes 30% to your final grade.

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