Why the Writing is on the Wall for Amateur Code-breakers

by Cass Art

Here's one in the eye for sceptics who claim that the world is gradually dumbing down. Counter arguments can now point to the fact that today we can even enjoy a more cerebral class of graffiti than ever before.

Complex coded graffiti murals are springing up all over England, featuring famous code-breakers and technological minds.

The coded graffiti employs Morse code, Java Script and Binary code and the first set contains binary decimals. It's a far cry from the pithy perennials “Leroy woz here” and “Kev luvs Sharon”. 

So what's the rationale behind them?

It’s part of a competition designed to bring code-breaking to the masses.

The graffiti features luminaries such as mathematician Alan Turing and is being commissioned by Campus Party tech festival. The images are appearing in London, Birmingham and Bristol before September 2nd, when the O2 plays host to Campus Party, described by Time Out magazine as “the Glastonbury for techpreneurs, developers, gamers, and well, geeks of all shapes and sizes”.

Anyone who is able to break the code will be in with a chance of winning tickets to the festival.

The murals feature Turing, inventor Samuel Morse, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, and Jon Hall, executive director of Linux International.

An O2 spokesman said: “This unique graffiti gives a taste of what we can expect to see during the festival, while providing a talking point that resonates and intrigues our key tech-savvy community.”

He said it is unsurprising that Turing should be the face to convey the first graffiti of the series, because he is widely considered to be the father of computer science.

It is no exaggeration to say that Turing's techniques in deciphering code went a long way to deciding the outcome of World War Two.

August also marks the 75th anniversary of the Government Code and Cypher Schools (GC&CS) arrival at Bletchley Park, where Turing led this team who broke the Enigma code.

Holly Marshall, O2's Campus Party manager, said that deciphering code has long been a role for some of the world's greatest minds. 

Marshall added: “At Campus Party we want to bring skills such as code-breaking to the masses, broadening the digital skill base in the process.”

Campus Party is an event that aims to help educate and inspire people from throughout Europe. It will feature a massive variety of free support services, including advice from how to get your foot on the career ladder to how a business can prosper on Facebook.

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