Archive for the ‘computering’ Category

The story of SAGE

Couldn’t stop reading it. Fascinating. William Stein’s account of the development of SAGE.

To Sage and it’s developers, and a bright, free future for mathematical software ahead!


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Cryptographers have a sense of humour.

Or maybe they’re just nuts.

Read the following excerpts from peer reviewed papers and judge for yourself.

Inspired by Carter and Wegman, we use simple primitives which we call NUT (for “n-Universal Transformation”) since they are so cheap to implement. We propose construction methods for block ciphers that we call COCONUT (for “Cipher Organized with Cute Operations and NUT”), PEANUT (for “Pretty Encryption Algorithm with NUT”), and WALNUT (for “Wonderful Algorithm with Light NUT”).

Decorrelation: a theory for block cipher security, S. Vaudenay

Then this other bunch of guys comes up with a new cipher:

In this paper we will suggest a new block cipher called DONUT (Double Operations with NUT) which is made by two pairwise perfect decorrelation modules. DONUT is secure against boomerang attack.

New Block Cipher DONUT Using Pairwise Perfect Decorrelation, Dong Hyeon Cheon et al

(Don’t ask about the boomerang…)

I’m not surprised if, when cryptanalyst come up with a new, powerful attack that breaks all known ciphers, they call it Cryptonite.

And it pays to watch movies after all… Who knows? One day you might get to cite them in your papers! See citation 28:


The title of this paper is… <drumroll>… “Dial C for Cipher”. And in case you didn’t catch the allusion, the authors are kind enough to add a footnote:

Refering to the famous movie by Alfred Hitchcock Dial M for Murder[28]…

Dial C for Cipher, Thomas Baignères and Matthieu Finiasz

The same authors are responsible for another cipher, the Krazy Feistel Cipher. Why “Krazy” and not “Crazy”? There might be other reasons (remember what I said about them being nuts?), but take a look at the initials…

(do I hear clucking?)

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The bird has taken to the air!!!

So many things I wanna do! Better list them out (O.O Did i just say “list them out”?? Ah! I mean, “list them down”… better start revising my phrasal verbs):


  1. C++
  2. LaTex
  3. Cryptography
  4. Number Theory
  5. Economics
  6. Mathematics of Finance
  7. Tai Chi


  1. Cryptogram solver
  2. Sudoku solver, implementing my method
  3. Sudoku solver, implementing Knuth’s Algorithm X
  4. Generalised sudoku solver (any M x N grid)
  5. C++ Implementation of the RSA Algorithm

Other targets

  1. Touch my toes (you know what I mean… don’t tell me, “But you can touch your toes what… if you bend your knees”)
  2. Stop slouching/ hunching
  3. Finish reading “Bleak House”and “Foucault’s Pendulum”
  4. Attempt “Ulysses” (both Homer’s and Joyce’s)
  5. Reread Lewis, Chesterton, H.A. Williams, Herbert, Hopkins and Eliot, and find more of their like.

Will add more to the list as time goes by. Hope to start striking out some soon 🙂

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with what?

The lesson here is that it is insufficient to protect ourselves with law; we need to protect ourselves with mathematics.
-Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography


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this is work?


I’m at “work” now!

At my PRIVATE DESK in my PRIVATE CUBICLE, I have an open book on Cryptography from the library downstairs.

My cubicle happens to be just next to the PANTRY WITH FREE HOT DRINKS, the printer/ photocopier room and the toilet!

Oh, and I’ve got INTERNET RADIO, FACEBOOK, MSN MESSENGER and THIS BLOG opened on the PERSONAL COMPUTER in front of me!


Met some of the PHDs here (I’m not supposed to call them “Dr”… just by their first names!): my supervisor, the head of the dept and a professor who specializes in the theoretical/mathematical aspects of cryptography.

Had lunch with some of the grad students who’re back for their 1-yr attachment. They’re a fun bunch! Some from Cornell too!

And for the next few weeks, all I’m supposed to do is to LEARN! READ! and pursue whatever interests me, as long as it’s related to CRYPTOGRAPHY!!!

And I’m PAID to do this! Awesome!

Talk about getting a dream job… Never knew getting attached was so fun 😛

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winded by windmills

It’s been close to a month since my last post, and one of the major reasons is that my creative impetus was fixated on a rather consuming programming phase: trying to create a Sudoku solver in MS Excel (without using macros or VB).

I’m not a sudoku fan; I find that it doesn’t take much skill; effort yes, but not skill. It just involves some rather tedious elimination and a bit of logical thinking. Which is why I embarked on this Excel project in the first place: because I felt that such routine task should be easily handled by a simple computer program.

I chose Excel because I had zero programming experience and couldn’t be bothered to go learn a programming language. Also Excel’s functions seemed to be sufficient for the purpose. And I didn’t want it to be like other programs which solved the puzzles using search algorithms. I wanted to create a program that followed as closely as possible a human’s thought processes when solving the puzzle.

It seemed a rather quixotic task then, and it still does now, but for different reasons. When I first started, I thought the Excel part would be easy but coming up with the algorithms would be hard, since I had no prior programming experience but have worked with Excel worksheets for quite a while. Turns out, it’s the other way round. The algorithms are fairly easy, but implementing them in Excel is incredibly exhausting!

Spreadsheets are just NOT for programming… (ok, I guess you knew that already) (more…)

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