Over 50,000 youngsters get ready to "break secret codes"
As of today, the third edition of the Alkindi competition, organised by the associations Animath and France IOI - and backed by Inria - is taking place. This year, the competition is under the patronage of the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Mr Mounir Mahjoubi. Matthieu Lequesne, PhD student with the Secret team, CNRS researcher Razvan Barbulescu and Fabrice Rouillier, head of the Ouragan team and chairman of Animath, will be present to facilitate this event.
The launch of the Alkindi competition took place this morning, at the Vallée de Chevreuse lycée in Gif-sur-Yvette, in the presence of the organisers and partners. Throughout the morning, 400 students from the school took part in the competition.
The Alkindi competition is a cryptography competition, i.e. the science of secret codes. It aims to enable secondary school and sixth-form students to discover digital security in an interactive way, whilst also developing their skills in mathematics and computer science.
The competition is backed by the French Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs and the French Ministry of National Education. The security of digital data and their transmission has become a vital aspect in educating young people about citizenship. This initiative is based on these questions in order to make the students reflect - in an enjoyable way - about the mathematical, computer science and logical founding principles of cryptanalysis.
First test: 50,000 secondary school and sixth-form students
In December, over 50,000 French students in years 9, 10 and 11 will spend an hour in a computer room to reflect on the best way to find security breaches, break secret codes, but also protect themselves from attacks. Last year saw over 47,000 students being made aware of various aspects of cybersecurity.
A series of challenges to take on until the final
The competition consists of three rounds and a final. The best from each round qualify for the following round. The first test consists of a series of interactive problems. Will you reach the end of the first round of the previous editions? Take a look on epreuve.concours-alkindi.fr.
The level of difficulty increases for the second then third round, where the challenge is to decipher an entire encrypted message. For the final in Paris, in May, a ceremony will take place in the presence of representatives of the French Ministry of National Education, the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs and the French Directorate-General for External Security. The prizewinners will be invited to meet several researchers in cryptography and cybersecurity experts.
The organising associations
> Animath is an association whose aim is to promote mathematical activity to young people whilst developing their enjoyment in doing mathematics.
> France IOI is an association whose aim is to introduce programming and algorithmics to as many people as possible.
Extract from the Alkindi competition press release*