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            Cryptography Competition.
                                           (edition 2013: #2).
You are reading the website of the 2013 edition of the competition, which ended on Wednesday 1st May at 12:00 am. We are planning to run a new edition next year, to start in January. The website for the current edition can be found here. For any particular enquiries you can contact us on cryptography_competition@manchester.ac.uk.
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The Tale of the
Egyptian Enigma
Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
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Is released!
Is released!
Is released!
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.

The Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is aimed at secondary school children up to Year 11 (England and Wales), S4 (Scotland), Year 12 (Northern Ireland). It is organised by the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester.

Cryptographical techniques are used everywhere in modern everyday life. Skype (speak) and Blackberry (text) use encryption to prevent eavesdropping, many websites use encryption to process credit card payments securely, banks use it so that people can safely do their internet banking at home and there are many more examples. If you are interested in learning a bit more about cryptography, cracking some nice puzzles (perhaps showing off the skills you already have!) and taking part in an exciting competition with some great prizes to be won, then read on for more details about how the competition works and how to take part!

The competition starts on Monday 7th January 2013.

The competition & the story:

The story follows the adventures of Mike and Ellie, fresh from discovering the long-lost `Turing Treasure' in last year's competition, as they get caught up in a new cryptographic adventure around the University of Manchester, involving a mysterious ancient artefact - the Egyptian Enigma!

The competition will run from 7th January 2013 to 8th April 2013. The story will consist of six chapters, and each chapter contains a code that you will need to solve. The codes get harder as the competition progresses. You don't need to be a maths whizz or a computer genius to solve the codes; all you need is to be good at solving puzzles, working logically, and being able to think outside the box!

You will need to be part of a team to compete in the competition. Each team is made up of a maximum of 4 people. You will need to register your team on the competition website.

We aim to release each chapter fortnightly on Monday afternoons at 4pm, according to the schedule below. As soon as your team have cracked the code, you should submit the code word to the competition website using the appropriate link in the left menu. There is a leaderboard on the website, so that you can see how your team is doing compared to others. See below for the scoring system.

If you get stuck, then often doing something else whilst you mull the problem over can help. There may also be clues in the story, and we may put further clues on the website or on the forum. You could also try reading up on different methods of cryptography by reading a brief introduction to cryptography or looking at last year's competition. Please do not post hints yourself in the forum without checking with us first as this could spoil the competition for others. (If you publish solutions in the forum or on other websites then you should expect to be disqualified!)


ChapterDate released
17th January 2013
221st January 2013
34th February 2013
418th February 2013
54th March 2013
618th March 2013
Solutions8th April 2013.

The competition closes at midnight on Friday 6th April 2013. The solutions will be released and the winners will be announced on Monday 8th April 2012.


The prizes are kindly sponsored by the flight search company Skyscanner, which was set up by two former University of Manchester based Computer Scientists. A number of prizes will be awarded throughout the competition.

1. If your team are the first to solve a chapter, then each team member wins £15 in Amazon gift vouchers.

2. The teams that finish the entire competition in first, second and third place on the leaderboard (see below for how the leaderboard works) win £30, £25 and £20, respectively, in Amazon gift vouchers for each team member, and the teams' schools will win a trophy.

3. Spot prizes of £10 in Amazon gift vouchers for each team member will be awarded to at most five teams who have correctly solved each chapter within two weeks of its scheduled release. The teams (excluding the team that first solved the chapter) will be selected at random by our server using a random number generator.

Scoring and the Leaderboard:

Your team's position on the leaderboard depends on: (i) how many chapters you have solved, and (ii) how quickly you solved them compared to other teams. Your team will score points depending on how fast your team solves the chapters.

Your team will score 15 points if your team is the first (or within 1hr of the first team) to solve a chapter, 14 points if your team solves the chapter within 2hrs of the first team, and a decreasing number of points as time increases. (The scale is not linear, see the FAQ for full details how the scoring works.)

Teams who have solved the most number of chapters appear at the top of the leaderboard. Teams who have solved the same number of chapters are ordered by the total number of points they have.

This competition is organised by and sponsored by