2385: Final Exam

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Final Exam
For those of you also taking Game Theory, your grade in that class will be based on how close your grade on this exam is to 80% of the average.
Title text: For those of you also taking Game Theory, your grade in that class will be based on how close your grade on this exam is to 80% of the average.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a FAILING CYBERSECURITY STUDENT. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

In this comic, Ponytail appears to be administering a cybersecurity exam. However, at the beginning of the exam, she informs her students that they have all failed, despite not having taken a test yet. She then informs them that their grades are stored on the department sever, but will be submitted tomorrow. The implication here is that the true test, rather than being a traditional exam is actually whether the students can hack into the server and change their grade. This may be a jab at education security which is know to be lax, or at the very least based on antiquated hardware and software, therefore being vulnerable to assault. In real life, students have attempted to change their grades in this manner, with some success.


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Welcome to your final exam the exam is now over I'm afraid all of you failed your grades have been stored on our department server and will be submitted tomorrow. class dismissed

cybersecurity final exams

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Perhaps add a note about how multiple people trying to achieve the same goal would be impossible, so therefore it would be a test of game theory to see how the final grades end up. You'd want to be the last one to make all the changes. 23:51, 13 November 2020 (UTC)

It's a contest to hack the grades and to lock out all of the other students from making further changes. BunsenH (talk) 00:49, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

Title text seems to be a reference to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guess_2/3_of_the_average. Anonymous3 (talk) 01:10, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

The current "change every fifth answer to the bubble below it" explanation appears to make the implausible assumption that the exam is multiple-choice. BunsenH (talk) 03:19, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

Clearly the optimal solution for both courses is to change the grade to be out of 0, thus a score of 0 being a perfect score and also meet the requirements for Game Theory. 03:28, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

great idea! i was considering adding fake students to be statistical extremes but your solution allows all students to ace both courses. ocæon (talk) 14:46, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

OMG I want so much to take this class, what an excellent final exam! 05:09, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

I think the explanation above is largely correct, but I assumed this was a Zoom reference. Since during lockdown the many students she is addressing should be experiencing this through a remote meeting, for which Zoom is often chosen (I'd love an explanation as to why THAT is). Zoom has notorious security flaws which any cybersecurity student should be failed for accepting. -- 05:11, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

What if they run it in sandboxed virtual machine? -- Hkmaly (talk) 20:45, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

No mention of Bobby Tables? Gvanrossum (talk) 06:29, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

That was a mom intentionally hacking multiple systems. Not just school, but also population census systems. This is limited to a single test. 21:08, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

the zero length exam reminds me of 'zero day' exploits, the students have zero time to respond to the exam requirements before the conclusion of the exam. ocæon (talk) 14:39, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

I feel like Randall missed a golden opportunity for Danish (instead of generic Ponytail) to prof these classes — this seems right up her alley. TPS (talk) 16:17, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

1) Hack my Cybersecurity grade, 2) Hack the professor's computer to remove the requiring link to the grade in the other course. -Diana

There is exactly one Nash Equilibria if you set the utility function to be the sum of the cyber security grade and the game theory grade. And it would be to give yourself a 100% in cyber security - Philip Geißler

This cartoon reminded me of a programming class I took as a Freshman at MIT (Spring 1974) where the first lecture described the way the programming projects were submitted and automatically graded. "Some of you may be considering finding a way to hack the grading program to just give you a good grade. This is an acceptable way to pass this course, since it is our analysis that subverting the grading program in this way demonstrates mastery of the subject matter." OK, I know this isn't a comment about the comic, but I lust felt like tossing it in. And more relevant (possibly) was the fact that being the last semester the course was taught, the final exam questions were all inside computer programming jokes. MAP (talk) 21:55, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

Given that the grade to be manipulated is only the grade of the final exam of Cybersecurity (and therefore not the grade for the entire class), but the grade that it affects is the grade for the entire Game Theory class, that there is no reason not to collaborate, and that how "closeness" is calculated is unclear, the ideal solution is to set the grade of every Cybersecurity student who is not also a Game Theory student to 100, and set the grade of every Cybersecurity student who is also a Game Theory student to 100(100-a)/(125-a), where a is the percentage of Cybersecurity students who are also Game Theory students. This ensures all Cybersecurity students who are also Game Theory students get a perfect 4.0 GPA in Game Theory while reducing their Cybersecurity score by the smallest possible amount. DL Draco Rex (talk) 17:12, 15 November 2020 (UTC)

There is a factor you haven't accounted for - hacking carries an implicit penalty in the form of effort expended; although I would like to think students will go to any amount of effort to get a good grade, I wonder whether that is realistic. 15:38, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

I just have to say this for fans of the Dutch comedy show Rundfunk: "ALLEMAAL EEN ONVOLDOENDE!" (Any more Dutch people around?) --IByte (talk) 13:34, 16 November 2020 (UTC)

I've been thinking that hack all grade at Cibersecurity to 100% or to the minimal approval grade, should get all students approved. Unlike the Guess 2/3 of the average problem, student don't need to hit the mark to be approved, they need only to get close enough. If everyone receives maximum grade in Cybersecurity, the average will be 100% and they will be off the 80% by 20%. Assuming some linearity between the transformations of distance and grade, and that grade cannot be negative. The longest distance from 80% of average would be everybody gets maximum grade, but one who get zero, it would get closer to 80% off, as long we have a lot of students in the class. Assuming 80% off zero grade, and 0% off as maximum, 20% off would get them 75% of maximum grade, that seems enough to get approval in both classes. --Hugoxrosa (talk) 19:33, 1 December 2020 (UTC)

I have heard that some cybersecurity tests either involve defending a network or attacking one, and your final grade was how successful you were.