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Chaocipher - NCM Visit & Discoveries
Topic Started: May 30 2013, 07:05 PM (563 Views)
jcalof
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Earlier in the month, I visited the National Cryptologic Museum in Ft. Meade, Maryland and photographed/catalogued the majority of the donated materials on the Chaocipher. These materials included a wealth of previously unknown correspondence by J.F. Byrne, several of his personal notebooks, originals of Chaocipher - The Ultimate Elusion, and the original blueprints for his Chaocipher machine (which was never built).

Amongst these materials I discovered Byrne's enciphering instructions for Silent Years' Exhibits #2 & #3. Both deviate from the 'standard' algorithm used in Exhibits #1 & #4, but in different fashion. The instructions for #3 are somewhat straightforward... but as Byrne does not provide the starting L/R wheel alphabets, these will need to be verified by a programmer 'back-tracking' from the known PT/CT relationship using his enciphering instructions.

Exhibit #2 is somewhat more problematic. As with Exhibit #3, Byrne does not offer his starting L/R wheel alphabets... and his enciphering instructions suggest a labyrinth pattern that is not entirely clear (though some of his supporting note display some potential clues).

I have been working with Moshe Rubin to get everything uploaded to the Chaocipher Clearinghouse for availability, review, and testing by anyone interested in this fascinating cipher... and the life story of J.F. Byrne. They should be ready in the coming weeks.

BONUS: I also found materials relating to Exhibit #5 (the unsolved challenge cipher published in Cryptologia in 1990) and am currently preparing an article for Cryptologia on what they say.
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jcalof
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The Chaocipher Clearing House's Historical Correspondence Table has been updated with nearly 50 new documents found at the NCM, including - for the first time - William Friedman's own words and first impression of Byrne's creation (see letter of August 31, 1922)

http://www.chaocipher.com/byrne-correspondences/index.html

Materials on Exhibits 2, 3, & 4 forthcoming. The Exhibit #5 Cryptologia Article nearing Final Draft for submission to the Journal.

Edited by jcalof, Jul 16 2013, 05:18 AM.
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james
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A note of appreciation, Jeff, for the excellent new material. It is also v. helpful to have it all in apple-pie-order with explanatory notes, for which Moshe tells me you are responsible. Thank you.
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jcalof
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You're very welcome... I appreciate the kind words and support. I'm continuing to work with Moshe to get more material/photos from the NCM uploaded to TCCH... will take several more weeks given our schedules, but I suspect you'll find everything quite intriguing:)
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