Category Archives: Cryptonomicon

Math Behind the Shark

In a section of Cryptonomicon entitled “Cycles,” there are a few pages that go into detail explaining how the three wheels in the enigma machine give it a certain security level and how the adding of the fourth wheel in the system … Continue reading Continue reading

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Better Safe than Sorry

In the “Tube” chapter, Captain Waterhouse visits Detachment 2702 and discusses with Colonel Chattan the possible height problem of the women working the bombes. All of the women that work with the bombes need to be tall enough to wire … Continue reading Continue reading

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Computer Cryptography

In the chapter titled “Forays,” of Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, bit-key encryption is introduced as a method maintaining secrecy between the characters Randy and Avi. Unlike the other characters of the novel, Randy and Avi occupy the modern times and must … Continue reading Continue reading

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Intuition

The part of Cryptonomicon that caught my attention was Lawrence Waterhouse’s attempt to solve the cipher, or “mathematical exercise” given to him and others by Commander Schoen. Schoen writes out the cipher, a list of 5 groups each with 5 … Continue reading Continue reading

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From Letters to Numbers

Though Neal Stevenson’s novel Cryptonomicon is fictional, its story of cryptography geniuses Lawrence Waterhouse, Alan Turing and Rudy von Hacklheber during World War II gives a very accurate account of the processes and drama experienced by these experts in their field. World War … Continue reading Continue reading

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The Interference of Secrecy

                The Cryptonomicon brings up an interesting idea when Sergeant Shaftoe, Corporal Benjamin and Lieutenant Monkberg get in an argument after they ram their ship into Normandy. The reader already knows the purpose of the mission because it is alluded to in … Continue reading Continue reading

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The Onetime Pad

In “The Castle,” Lawrence Waterhouse arrives at the Castle in Outer Qwghlm, serving as the advance party to Detachment 2702. He is responsible for surveying the Castle and setting up appropriate accommodation away from the prying eyes of the servants. He … Continue reading Continue reading

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Blindly Building

The most interesting passage from Cryptonomicon that relates to a discussion earlier in the course is found on page 89. Here, Lawrence describes the most intriguing machine found at Station Hypo: at machine built by Commander Schoen and designed to … Continue reading Continue reading

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Turning’s Bicycle and Modular Arithmetic

  A passage that I found especially intriguing in Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, is when Waterhouse and Turning are on a bike ride in the English countryside. In these few complex mathematical pages, we are taught about modular arithmetic, which helps … Continue reading Continue reading

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