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From the people behind the MathsBombe Competition.
You are reading the website of the 2019 edition of the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition, which ended on Thursday 2nd May at 11:59 pm
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The Alan Turing Cryptography Day 2019!

Want to come over to Manchester on Wednesday 1st May for a bit of live crypto stuff, the prize ceremony and an opportunity to meet the organisers?

Find out more!

For Teachers

The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition ran for the first time in January 2012 as part of the Alan Turing Year centenary celebrations. The competition was so successful in promoting mathematics to young mathematicians that we decided to turn it into a yearly event. You can read more about the previous editions in the archive.

The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is open to all schoolchildren up to and including Year 11 (England and Wales), up to and including S4 (Scotland) and up to and including Year 12 (Northern Ireland). Whilst we believe that the competition is most suitable for schoolchildren at secondary school, the early stages of the competition may be accessible to schoolchildren in the final year of primary school.

The story follows Mike and Ellie who must solve a number of cryptographic problems as they go along. The problems do not need any sophisticated mathematics to solve, nor do they require the use of computers. Instead, logical thought and problem-solving abilities are all that is required.

The competition runs from Monday 28th January to Monday 8th April. A new chapter of the story is released on Mondays at 4pm. The first three chapters appear with a week between them, the remaining chapters have two weeks between them (see the FAQ for exact dates). There are 6 chapters in total. Each chapter contains a code to solve and they get progressively harder. The students can earn points for the leaderboard by submitting the correct solution as soon as they have found it. The solutions will be released on Monday 8th April.

Starting from 2019, teachers must now register first, to allow their pupils to access the competition. (teachers provide their pupils with a code that allows them to register and links them to the school). Due to data protection legislation we no longer store any personal information relating to students (such as their real name), and we store only their anonymous user name. Teachers will be notified when one of their pupils registers with an email, which gives both the username and real name of the pupil. It is important that teachers retain this information for the duration of the competition, so that they can allocate prizes to the correct pupils. Please be aware that prizes will be sent to the nominated teacher for the teacher to distribute to the winning team members.

Pupils should form teams of between 1 and 4 people. They can register their team here (registration opens on Monday 3rd December). We firmly believe that solving the problems should be done collaboratively and that team-work is an important part of mathematics!

If you have 5 people that want to compete then we suggest splitting them into a team of 2 and a team of 3. Teams must not work together.

There are prizes (Amazon gift vouchers) awarded at various stages in the competition. These are: £15 gift vouchers per team member for the first team to solve each chapter, and up to ten (chapters 1–3) or five (chapters 4–6) £10 gift vouchers per team member 'spot' prizes for teams who correctly solve each chapter within the first two weeks of its scheduled release. At the end of the competition, the top three teams on the leaderboard will win £30, £25, £20 gift vouchers per team member; and their schools will receive a trophy.

If your school has a mathematics club or society then the competition would make an ideal activity for them.

Announcing MathsBombe!

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.
Alan Turing Cryptography Competition 2019 is organised by the The School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester.
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