Our report had been divided into 10 main parts, namely introduction, background information, social survey, interview, the decoding journey, code making, website & poster making, oral presentation and the conclusion.
The definition of coding is replacing a word or sentences using other letters or symbols while cryptography is defined as to replace words and sentences with other letters or symbols to stop others from seeing the true message other than the recipient itself. In other words, coding is a much wider term and cryptography is classified under coding. This is because coding does not necessarily mean that the messages are to be kept secret from the public. It is also applied in computers where human language needs to be translated into computer language using coding for the computers to understand.
Coding and cryptography are used in our daily lives but people tend to take them for granted. Some of them do not even know about such things in our daily lives. For example, paying through your credit card is something that requires cryptography. Without cryptography, sending your credit card number through the Internet will be almost impossible without someone knowing your credit card number. As our technology is constantly improving and requirement for data to be transmitted safely is getting more and more, it is only logical that coding and cryptography become increasingly important.
Our objectives are to make the public aware of the idea of encoding and decoding and how their lives are affected by codes, find out how codes are applied in our daily life and the different ways that messages can be encoded and decoded, and thus make our own codes.
The rationale of our project is that we find the need to make coding and cryptography's importance known to the public. We find that the public did not know much about coding and cryptography. We are also very interested in the ways that messages can be encoded and decoded.
Our scope will be to find out and investigate the famous and most common codes used, what they are used for and the period they are used in. We will also investigate why people want to use codes to encode their messages, how people in the past had sent their encrypted messages and how encoding and decoding are used in the present. In addition, we will try to discover why some people are unaware of the presence of codes in their lives like in the NRIC and credit cards, and codes used in the computer like the binary code.
Next, we conducted a social survey, aiming to get an idea of the public's opinion of coding and cryptography, and to gauge the knowledge of the public about the usage of coding and cryptography in their daily lives. We created an online survey using Microsoft Word and sent it out to our friends over the internet. From our analysis, we felt that most people had minimal knowledge of what coding and cryptography is about and their importance in our daily lives. There was also very little understanding of the difference between coding and cryptography. Thus there was a greater need to create awareness.
We conducted an interview, in order to get professional opinions about coding and cryptography. Professor Ling San cleared up the misuse of the terms “coding” and “cryptography”, and also brought up many other ways coding and cryptography is used in our daily lives; and about how many people take codes and cryptography for granted in their lives and do not understand the importance of coding and cryptography.
Our group member Bi Ran then broke 7 of the 10 stages found in the Cipher Challenge at the back of The Code Book by Simon Singh , namely stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. The process of decoding these messages can test our knowledge of the various codes used.
To create public awareness of the importance of coding and cryptography, we created a website. This also created awareness amongst the public about the relevance of codes in their life. We will next create posters in order to inform the public of our research, and generally about coding and cryptography, and thus catch the public's attention about coding and cryptography, so that the people's interest can be aroused.
Finally, we had an oral presentation in order to show a group of people our research into the topic, and the results we have gotten throughout our project. We showed them the relevance of codes and how they are exposed to codes in their life. But, due to time constraint for the presentation, we would not cover everything that we researched for in out project. There will be limitations regarding how the various types of coding and cryptography work as they are highly related to number theory, which may be too boring for the audience to understand. We will need to make the public aware of how such codes work with number theory eventually to create a better understanding between them, coding and cryptography.