The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Expository Essay - The Hill Cipher #2

And here's Max's take on the Hill cipher [PDF].


Expository Essay - The Hill Cipher #1


Expository Essay - The Playfair Cipher #2


  1. Courtney

    Max -
    You did a great job explaining the mathematics of the Hill Cipher. I found it to be a little daunting when you first mentioned matrices, but the ensuing explanation proved fairly easy to follow. I could easily see this paper serving as a section in a textbook.

    I thought it was interesting how though the cipher was a lot more complex than the formerly used "pen and paper" ciphers as you mentioned towards the end, the cipher was minimally used in productive ways. It would have been interesting if you went more in depth in the ways that the Hill Cipher was used in real life, but of course I understand that could have easily doubled the length of the paper.

    Great job on the writing; the paper flowed nicely, and your use of mathematic representations sufficiently bolstered your presentation.


  2. Aubrey

    I found it interesting that a cipher invented nearly over a century ago still has applications today. Its astounding how advanced the ideas Hill came up with were for his time. For example, you mentioned that AES and Twofish both use matrix multiplication, which was the basis of the Hill cipher.

    The introduction into the math of the functionality of the cipher started out smoothly and easily understandable. The modular arithmetic and beginning of the matrices was easy to understand because of the examples and illustrations you gave.

    I'm still unsure why the Hill cipher was not used more. Having been invented in 1929, it seems it would have been extremely helpful in the war effort. Though it was complex, I'm still unsure why no one took advantage of it.

    This cipher was an important stepping stone in the evolution of cryptography. I found this paper interesting, because it shows the connection between the Hill cipher and cryptography techniques used today. This paper gives me a better perspective of the development of cryptography.

    This paper has great formatting, explanations, illustrations, and thorough. Good job!

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