October 18, 2004

The Arab Cryptanalysts

Simon Singh's The Code Book is a very readable account of the development of cryptography over the ages [1]. It seems to skate over much material, but Singh shows an ability to pick out the salient events in history, and open them up. Here is an extract entitled "The Arab Cryptanalysts [2]."

Curiously it mirrors the evolution of financial cryptography: only after a significant array of other disciplines were brought to bear by the enlightened scholars of the Islamic world, for a wide range of motives and interests, was the invention of frequency analysis discovered and applied to cryptograms. Thus, the monoalphabetic cipher fell, and cryptanalysis was born.

[1] Simon Singh, The Code Book, 1999
[2] Ibid, "The Arab Cryptanalysts", pp 14-20.

Posted by iang at October 18, 2004 05:58 AM | TrackBack