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Prizes and certificates

It takes real effort to crack a cipher and we and our sponsors want to recognise that, so everyone who takes part can download certificates recording their achievement. After each round you will find a link in your account page under the submissions tab where you can Get Your Certificate. At the end of the competition, you can also download a certificate showing your overall performance. There are gold certificates for the top 25% of competitors, silver for the next 25% and bronze for everyone who successfully breaks a challenge.

The very best codebreakers will be presented with medals along with their certificates at a special awards ceremony to be held at the historic home of British codebreaking, Bletchley Park. The event will be held on February 7th and details will be published nearer the time.

Winners exploring an Enigma Machine at Bletchley

Main Prizes

We have a prize fund of £4,000 pounds supported in part by our very generous sponsors at GCHQ, IBM and Trinity College Cambridge. We will be awarding four prizes each to the tune of £1,000 as follows

The Alan Turing Prize and Ada Lovelace prizes for the best two individual codebreakers

The Hut 8 and Hut 33 prizes for the two best teams of codebreakers.

To be eligible for any of the prizes the winners must be in full time school or sixth form college level education in the UK. Homeschoolers also qualify, but proof of age may be required. It is also a condition that prizewinners agree that their names and affiliations may be published on the competition website. We encourage winners to publish details to the media, but this is not a requirement. These rules apply both to individual winners and to ALL members of any winning team.

Potential winners will be contacted at the close of the competition and asked to confirm eligibility.

Finally, for the integrity of the competition it is important that winners are able to show that their entry is the result of their own work and the prize committee reserve the right to ask for reasonable evidence of this. Even if this wasn’t needed, it is absolutely fascinating to hear how you tackled the competition and is one of the highlights of the whole thing for Harry and the team! You can see some of the recent accounts submitted on the resources page.

Scoring the Challenge

There are two parallel competitions, part A and part B, and you can take part in one or both (or neither, but why would you?) Competition B is scored for speed and accuracy. We use the Damerau-Levenshtein distance to determine how accurate you are and break up the time into bands each worth a certain number of points. For each round you can submit more than once, and we mark each of your submissions. We then take your most accurate submission and award the appropriate time points to give a pair of numbers (accuracy out of 100, time points) and then use this to rank team entries. Accuracy is ALWAYS more important than speed. Speed does matter, but you do not have to rush to download the first challenges immediately as you have a day or two in which you can still get top marks. In later challenges speed will become important, and the full schedule of marks is published on the Challenge pages so you can see how quickly you will need to get started in each round.

Challenge A is intended for less experienced code breakers, so typically the challenges are a bit easier. You will be able to download certificates showing you how well you did in each round as well as your placing in the overall competition after each round.

The first three challenges should be thought of as a “warm-up” exercise and will not count in the final leader board rankings, however it is still worth tackling them as they give excellent practice and they do develop the storyline. You can submit multiple times to each round and will find feedback on each submission in your account pages, though we sometimes delay that to keep things interesting. Resubmission can never lower your mark and can improve it, so don’t be disheartened if you make a mistake. Have another go!.

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