Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Klapper


Stream ciphers are private key cryptosystems used for security in communication and data transmission systems. Because they are used to encrypt streams of data, it is necessary for stream ciphers to use primitives that are easy to implement and fast to operate. LFSRs and the recently invented FCSRs are two such primitives, which give rise to certain security measures for the cryptographic strength of sequences, which we refer to as complexity measures henceforth following the convention. The linear (resp. N-adic) complexity of a sequence is the length of the shortest LFSR (resp. FCSR) that can generate the sequence. Due to the availability of shift register synthesis algorithms, sequences used for cryptographic purposes should have high values for these complexity measures. It is also essential that the complexity of these sequences does not decrease when a few symbols are changed. The k-error complexity of a sequence is the smallest value of the complexity of a sequence obtained by altering k or fewer symbols in the given sequence. For a sequence to be considered cryptographically ‘strong’ it should have both high complexity and high error complexity values.

An important problem regarding sequence complexity measures is to determine good bounds on a specific complexity measure for a given sequence. In this thesis we derive new nontrivial lower bounds on the k-operation complexity of periodic sequences in both the linear and N-adic cases. Here the operations considered are combinations of insertions, deletions, and substitutions. We show that our bounds are tight and also derive several auxiliary results based on them.

A second problem on sequence complexity measures useful in the design and analysis of stream ciphers is to determine the number of sequences with a given fixed (error) complexity value. In this thesis we address this problem for the k-error linear complexity of 2n-periodic binary sequences. More specifically:

1. We characterize 2n-periodic binary sequences with fixed 2- or 3-error linear complexity and obtain the counting function for the number of such sequences with fixed k-error linear complexity for k = 2 or 3.

2. We obtain partial results on the number of 2n-periodic binary sequences with fixed k-error linear complexity when k is the minimum number of changes required to lower the linear complexity.