The Alan Turing
Want to come over to Manchester for a bit of live crypto stuff, the prize ceremony and an opportunity to meet the organisers?
Then the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is for you!
Now in its sixth year, the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is aimed at secondary school children up to Year 11 (England and Wales), S4 (Scotland), Year 12 (Northern Ireland). You don't need to be a computer whizz or a mathematical genius - you just need to keep your wits about you and be good at solving problems! (See here for eligibility.)
|In his relatively short life, Alan Turing - code-breaker, mathematician and founding father of computer science - made a unique impact on the history of computing, computer science, artificial intelligence, developmental biology, and the mathematical theory of computability.|
Cryptographical techniques are used everywhere in modern everyday life. For example, Whatsapp and many similar programmes use encryption to prevent eavesdropping, many websites use encryption to process credit card payments securely, and banks use it so that people can safely do their internet banking at home. Here you can find a quick introduction to cryptography.
The competition starts on Monday 23rd January 2017, and you can register your team (or join an existing team) here. A team consists of at most 4 members. It is also possible to register as a `non-competing' team, for instance if you're a teacher who would like to follow the competition or if some members of your team are too old to take part. Registration opens on Thursday 1st December 2016 (you can request an email reminder on the registration page). See the this section for more details.
The competition follows the story of two young cipher sleuths, Mike and Ellie, as they get caught up in a cryptographic adventure 'The Tale of the Mediæval Manuscript'. Every week or two a new chapter of the story is released, each with a fiendish code to crack (see here for the release dates). There are six chapters in total (plus an epilogue to conclude the story). Points can be earned by cracking each code and submitting your answer. The leaderboard keeps track of how well each team is doing. (See the FAQ for how the scoring works.)
Competitors may find a printer and some scissors helpful, but this is not essential.
|1.||If your team are the first to solve any of the six chapters, then each team member wins £15 in Amazon gift vouchers.|
|2.||Each member of the teams that finish in first, second and third place on the leaderboard win £30, £25 and £20, respectively, in Amazon gift vouchers, and the teams' schools will win a trophy.|
|3.||Each chapter also has a number of spot prizes: for each chapter, spot prizes (of £10 Amazon gift vouchers per team member) can be won by up to 5 randomly chosen teams - but you'll have to be fast: spot prizes can only be won before the next chapter is released!|
The prizes are kindly sponsored by the flight search company Skyscanner. Skyscanner was set up by two former computer scientists from the University of Manchester, two people who directly benefited from Turing's contributions to Manchester and computing.
Now that you're an expert cryptographer, you'll want to show off your new skills in person! Join us at the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester on Wednesday 3rd May for plenty of code-breaking action, a live cryptography mini-challenge, and the prize ceremony for the competition winners!
(See here for details.)
MathsBombe is the sister competition to the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition. Aimed at A-level students and those taking Scottish Highers or those taking GCSE, the competition features a series of mathematical puzzles to solve. See here for details.