At its most basic level, abstract algebra is the study of structures. Just as an architect may examine buildings or an anthropologist societal hierarchies, an algebraist explores the nature of sets equipped with binary operations that satisfy certain properties. While these structures may not seem at first to be very important, they are at the heart of most, if not all, mathematical endeavors. On an elemental level, they allow us to solve systems of equations; on a more global-level, they are behind some of our most important cryptographic systems. We even use them implicitly when telling time!