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Cryptography Competition.
(edition 2015: #4).
You are reading the website of the 2015 edition of the competition, which ended on Wednesday 13th May at 11:59 pm.

Mike and Ellie will return for a new adventure next year!

The website for that new edition, to start in January 2016, appears in December here. If you would like to receive a reminder around that time by email please look here. For any particular enquiries you can contact us on cryptography_competition@manchester.ac.uk.

The Alan Turing

Cryptography Day


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

Then sign up!

Do you like breaking codes and solving ciphers?
Can you, and your friends, unravel the Carbon Conundrum?
Would you like the chance to use your mathematical skills to win some great prizes?

Then the Alan Turing Cryptography Competition is for you!

Now in its fourth 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.)

The competition is organised by the School of Mathematics at the University of Manchester.

Who was Alan Turing?

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.

Why is cryptography important?

Cryptographical techniques are used everywhere in modern everyday life. For example, Skype (speech) and Blackberry (text) 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.

Sounds great! How can I take part and what do I have to do?

The competition starts on Monday 26th January, 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 Monday 1st December (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 an adventure to unravel the Carbon Conundrum. Every week or two weeks a new chapter of the story is released, each with a cryptographic puzzle to solve (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.)

What can I win?

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!

(See the FAQ and rules for how the prizes are determined and how they are sent out.)

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 benefitted from Turing's contributions to Manchester and computing.

`The Imitation Game' bonus prizes!

In recognition of the UK DVD release on March 9th of The Imitation Game, starring University of Manchester alumnus Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, StudioCanal have supplied 10 bonus prizes of DVDs of the film. For each chapter, a DVD can be won as a spot prize for a randomly chosen team. DVDs will also be awarded to teams that finish at the top of the leaderboard.

(See the FAQ and rules for how the prizes are determined and how they are sent out.)

Announcing the Alan Turing Cryptography Day 2015!

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 29 April for plenty of code-breaking action, a live cryptography mini-challenge, and the prize ceremony for the competition winners!

(See here for details.)