Author Topic: Online cryptography competition starts Thursday  (Read 1990 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mayya

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 7874
Online cryptography competition starts Thursday
« on: April 09, 2014, 22:03:29 PM »
Online cryptography competition starts Thursday
Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:45 pm

The Kryptos Codebreaking Challenge, developed by Central Washington University mathematics professor Stuart Boersma and Western Oregon University Cheryl Beaver mathematics professor, is centered on the cryptanalysis, or breaking, of ciphers, or secret writing.

Each challenge presents contestants with a scenario of an encoded message. The goal is to discover the original message.

“Although this is primarily for college undergraduates, I certainly welcome contestants from high schools,” Boersma said. “While most of our students are from the Pacific Northwest, since this is an online contest, people can enter from just about anywhere in the world.”

Individual undergraduate students, or teams of up to three, are eligible to participate. Each individual or team must have a faculty sponsor to register. Last year, there were more than 100 entrants.

Those who don’t qualify as contestants can go to the Kryptos website to look at the previous years’ challenges and solutions — and test their skills.

Boersma, who is teaching an upper level mathematics course in cryptology this spring, said many of the challenges are based on historical ciphers that pre-date World War II. Although computers can be helpful in breaking some of the codes, most can be solved — if a little tediously — with paper and pencil.

“The main objective is to have fun,” he said. “Most students with a little familiarity with ciphers or code-breaking will be able to solve the challenges. They aren’t overly technical nor do they use advanced mathematical algorithms.”

The 2014 Cipher Challenges will be posted on the Kryptos website when the contest begins at 4 p.m. Thursday. Solutions need to be submitted by 4 p.m. April 14. All times are Pacific Daylight Time.

For more information, go to the Kryptos website,, or e-mail Stuart Boersma at [email protected] The contest is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest section of the Mathematical Association of America.

© 2014 Daily Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.