Q&A #13134

Code breaking - History

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Feb 24, 2004 at 05:17:18
Subject: Re: Code breaking - History

Hi Dave, When I saw your message yesterday, I wrote my son because I remembered that he had had a great interest in the Enigma coding machine when he was in college a few years ago. His response seems similar to what Pat wrote. --- I don't think the Enigma coding machine was based on matrices. I found a good explanation from a Google search: http://users.wpi.edu/~imphss/crypto/enigma.doc [the paper has stuff on matrices.. but it's just for student exercises after reading about the Enigma machines] The paper explains it as I remember... the Enigma machine was based on substitution. It held a number of rotors that would, in series, substitute the letter that the operator had entered. Over the course of the war the Germans made the Enigma machines a little more complicated... but the main method to its encoding stayed the same. --- I noticed also that Pat recommended Caesar ciphers and I thought you might find these "tools" from the Math Tools section of the Math Forum interesting: Caesar Cipher http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool.html?id=205 Caesar Cipher II http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool.html?id=209 Caesar Cipher III http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool.html?id=213 -Suzanne A., for the T2T service

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