University of Minnesota
Binary Reverse Engineering

Homework assignments

  • Homework 1, basic manual binary reverse engineering: Questions.

Reading assignments

In preparation for each class where we'll discuss a paper, you should read the paper listed on the Papers page, and then write up a question and answer about it. The purpose of these assignments is to make sure that you're already thinking in depth about the paper, which will allow you and everyone else to get more out of the discussion we have. A short slogan to remember what you have to do is "answer one, ask one".

For the first "answer one" part, you should answer one of the following general questions (your choice) as it applies to the paper:

  • Summarize one interesting new thing you learned from reading the paper. Be sure to explain why you think it is interesting, don't just repeat what the paper says about it.
  • Describe a research question which is implicitly raised by the paper, but not answered in it.
  • Does the paper contains a claim that you are skeptical of or disagree with? Explain in your own words what you interpret the paper as claiming, and then by contrast what you think is true.
  • Is there an important detail that the paper leaves out or is ambiguous? Describe what the unanswered question is, and then give your best guess as to the answer.
  • Given the benefit of hindsight, if you were doing the same research project as the paper over again from scratch, how would you have done it differently?

Usually a good answer should be a modest-length paragraph which summarizes the gist of your answer with a topic sentence, and then backs it up with additional sentences giving supporting details. It should usually be sufficient for your answer to be just text: most questions should not require figures, complex formulas, or bibliographic citations to answer. Submit your answers in PDF format (so that I can conveniently print them). Please make clear which question you're answering: if it might not be obvious otherwise, you can do this pasting a copy of the question you're answering before your answer.

For the second "answer one" part, you should ask a question of your own that pertains to the paper that might be suitable for in-class discussion. This second question is also supposed to be a catalyst for thinking about the research, but it gives you a different perspective than when you're answering a question.

Each student should submit their answers using the appropriate assignment on the course Canvas page. You should prepare your answers no later than the day before the relevant paper is discussed in class, though if needed the late night of the day before can bleed a bit into early the following morning: the Canvas is set for a deadline of 1am on the day of the class. Submissions that are late but still before class are worth 50% credit, while submissions after the beginning of class (to be precise, after 9:45am) get no credit.