Year 13 student Zadok Storkey won The GCHQ sponsored Alan Turing prize in the National Cipher Challenge in January.
The National Cipher Challenge is a nationwide online codebreaking competition targeted at school and sixth form students studying mathematics and computer sciences. It is run by the Mathematics department at the University of Southampton. This year’s challenge had over 7000 entrants. The Alan Turing prize is the top prize for the fastest individual competitor completing all the challenges.
In the online competition, the entrants had to solve progressively harder challenges, decrypting complex ciphers. Solutions are submitted on the competition website and the entrants then try to crack the code in the fastest time possible.
Zadok said “I applied to this competition because it used my software programming skills and I have always enjoyed solving complex mathematical problems.”
Winning the competition involved writing software that is capable of analysing the encoded message as well as automating the tasks involved in decrypting the message. The final stages involved patience and creativity in solving multiple complex ciphers. More information about the challenge can be found here: https://www.cipherchallenge.org/stay-up-to-date/
Zadok is currently studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A Level and next year he will be going to university to study Computer Science. Well done Zadok!