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How Polish Mathematicians Deciphered the Enigma

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129370D
Original Publication Date: 1981-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 23 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

MARIAN REJEWSKI: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

[Figure containing following caption omitted: Editor's Note. We would like to thank Joan Stepenske for translating this article from the Polish. We also want to thank Zbigniew Semadeni and Wladyslaw M. Turski for their efforts in obtaining the article and in ensuring a faithful translation. We are grateful to Joanna Siemien for compiling bibliographic data.]

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1981 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

How Polish Mathematicians Deciphered the Enigma

MARIAN REJEWSKI

(Image Omitted: This article was entitled "Jak matematycy polscy rozszyfrowali Enigme" in the Annals Of the Polish Mathematical society, Series II, Wiadomosci Matematyczne, Volume 23, 1980, 1-28, copyright Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warsaw, 1980, translated by Joan Stepenske with the permission of the publisher. Translation © 1981 by the American Federation of Information Processing societies' Inc. Permission to copy without fee ad or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. © 1981 AFIPS 0164-1239/81/030213-234

How Polish Mathematicians Deciphered the Enigma

MARIAN REJEWSKI .00/0)

(Image Omitted: Editor's Note. We would like to thank Joan Stepenske for translating this article from the Polish. We also want to thank Zbigniew Semadeni and Wladyslaw M. Turski for their efforts in obtaining the article and in ensuring a faithful translation. We are grateful to Joanna Siemien for compiling bibliographic data.)

The paper gives a personal view of work in the Polish Cipher Bureau from 1932 to 1939 as mathematicians worked to decipher the codes of the military version of the Enigma. The author, who was a participant, relates details of the device and the successes and frustrations involved in the work. He also describes mathematical principles that enabled him and his colleagues to break successive versions of the Enigma code and to construct technical devices (cyclometers and "bombs") that facilitated decipherment of Enigma-coded messages. Keywords: Enigma, cryptology CR Category: 1.2

Introduction

At the end of 1927, or possibly at the beginning of 1928, a parcel containing radio equipment, according to the declaration, arrived from Germany at the customs house in Warsaw. Because the parcel had been sent erroneously in place of other equipment, a representative of a German firm very insistently demanded the return of the parcel to the German government before it was cleared through customs. His demands were so urgent that they awakened the suspicions of the customs officers, who informed the Cipher Bureau of the Second Department of the General Staff, an institution interested in every kind of innovation in the area of radio equipment. Since it happened to be Saturday afternoon, the employees delegated by the bureau had time to study the matter at leisure. The box was carefully opened, and it was determined that indeed it did hot contain radio equipment; it contai...