App State students recognized as ranking winners of nation-wide cryptanalysis competition

Zachary Dove, Mathematics, from Cary, N.C.

Brennan Stride, Computer Science, from Apex, N.C. 

Lindsey Wise, Mathematics, from Simpsonville, S.C. 

Kryptos Cryptanalysis Competition Winning Team

Central Washington University Kryptos Challenge: A Series of Cryptanalysis 

In April, the Appalachian State University student team of Zachary Dove, Brennan Stride and Lindsey Wise, participated in the annual undergraduate Kryptos Challenge cryptanalysis competition at Central Washington University with Dr. Rick Klima, professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, as their faculty sponsor. This year, the annual competition included 49 teams from 11 states and four countries, with a total of 106 student participants. Dove, Wise and Stride were recognized as achieving the Turing level of achievement in the competition and received the ranking of Master Codebreakers. 

Among the three levels of achievement, Turning, Babbage and Pretty Good, the two highest levels are named in honor of two famous codebreakers, Alan Turning and Charles Babbage. Alan Turning is credited to breaking the Nazi Enigma code during World War II using the frst algorithmic computer, later named the Turning machine. Charles Babbage is considered the father of computing through his invention of the first automatic calculator in the 18th century. Dove, Stride and Wise were able to achieve the Turning level ranking by being one of the eight teams recognized for solving the entire challenge correctly. 

The Kryptos Challenge is centered around the breaking, or cryptanalysis of ciphers, or secret writing. Each of the three cipher challenges presented contestants with a brief scenario and ciphertext, or encoded message. They win the challenge by fully discovering the original English plaintext message. In order to solve the ciphertext, the team is allowed to obtain information from any print published source or any internet source that existed prior to the start of the contest, with any website source, computer programs or other applets created to distribute information about the competition being strictly off limits. 

“I'm super proud! Appalachian has had a team participate in the Kryptos Challenge several times in the past, but has never had a team recognized for a higher level of achievement,” said Dr. Rick Klima, faculty sponsor.


About the Department of Mathematical Sciences

The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in actuarial science and mathematics, with concentrations in business, computation, life sciences, physical sciences, secondary teaching and statistics, plus a general, self-designed concentration. The department also offers the Master of Arts in mathematics, with concentrations in college teaching and secondary teaching. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at


By Barclay Ann Blankenship


App State students recognized as ranking winners of nation-wide cryptanalysis competition
Published: Jun 18, 2020 9:43am