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The Mathematics of Cryptography: from Ancient Rome to a Quantum Future

Learn about the developments used to break and create some of the strongest codes ever known.

Length Start date Led by In partnership with
Three weeks Tutor facilitation starts 18 September 2023. Department of Mathematics FutureLearn

The ability to use codes to send secret messages has been of critical importance to civilisations for thousands of years. In modern everyday life, our ability to share messages that make no sense to anyone intercepting them underpins the security of internet banking, online shopping and instant messaging services. Mathematics has famously been used to break codes such as that used by the Enigma Machine in World War II, but also forms the foundation of all cutting edge cryptographic techniques.
You will investigate permutations, modular arithmetic, prime numbers and more, as we unlock the codes used by Roman emperors, Nazi Germany, and modern electronic communications. You will join some of York’s world-renowned mathematicians – specialists in number theory, statistics and quantum information – as they lead you through this fascinating and far-reaching topic.

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