There were many mathematical concepts related to modern cryptography introduced in this chapter. One topic I was familiar with already was the use of binary digits and modular arithmetic because we had learned about them in class. However, I was not aware of modular arithmetic prior to taking this course and I had only the most basic understanding of binary numbers. I still do not have much knowledge on either topic beyond an elementary level. For example, I was confused by the idea of the Y^x (mod P) function. I do not really understand how it works and how it relates to encryption and communication. I am not sure if this speaks to Singh’s ability (or lack of ability) to explain technical mathematical topics, or my ability (or lack of ability) to understand technical mathematical topics through words rather than examples and someone showing me how they work.
I was also confused about the concept of the mangler function as what the mangler function is exactly was never elaborated upon in the chapter. However, this might be because the function is too complicated or complex for the average individual to understand, so Singh didn’t even bother trying to break it down. I think Singh does a so-so job explaining the more technical sides to cryptography throughout his book, not just this chapter. Some explanations make sense, such as in the first chapter when he introduces the different types of historical ciphers. Others have me completely lost, such as his explanation for how the enigma machine functions. (I still don’t understand how it works!) I understand it is very difficult to explain such advanced and complex concepts to people with no knowledge on the topic, and this will be important to keep in mind when explaining how our cipher works for our podcasts.