Bournemouth School team reaches cipher final
A team of students from Bournemouth School completed the penultimate stage of the University of Southampton’s National Cipher Challenge on Thursday 4th December to enter the final stage with the maximum number of points, placing them in which a chance of grabbing the title. For the last eight weeks on nearly every Thursday, six students of Further Mathematics have been tasked by a GCHQ and Trinity College Cambridge sponsored competition with the cracking of two ciphered texts of developing difficulty. The aforementioned team members are Michael Baugh (S-?), Samuel King (S-1), Jared Skivington (E-?), Jamie Siviter (D-2), Max Warner (S-1) and Greg Westall (S-?). At the time of writing, the final leaderboard for challenge seven, the penultimate, has yet to be released, so it is unknown how many individuals and teams remain in the competition. When, on the 17th December, the final two ciphertexts are released, the group will face a race to be the first to complete the competition. As such, preparations are currently underway to ensure that the team can have a chance. For many in the team, their first proper introduction to ciphers came through the competition, which was advertised in the Maths Block. Nonetheless, they were greatly benefited by previous mathematical knowledge, logical thought, Simon Singh’s “The Code Book”, and a certain well-known search engine. There are currently plans to establish a Cipher Society after the challenge has finished, open to anybody interested in ciphers or being involved in a team next year.
The National Cipher Challenge is an initiative being run by the University of Southampton to stimulate interest in codes and ciphers. The challenge website is www.cipher.maths.soton.ac.uk