We are very pleased to introduce the proceedings of the International Conference on Historical Cryptology (HISTOCRYPT 2018), held at the Department of Linguistics and Philology on the English Park Campus, Uppsala University, Sweden, between June 18 and 20, 2018.
HISTOCRYPT addresses all aspects of historical cryptology/cryptography including work in closely related disciplines (such as history, history of ideas, computer science, AI, computational linguistics, linguistics, or image processing) with relevance to historical ciphertexts and codes. The subjects of the conference include, but are not limited to the use of cryptography in military, diplomacy, business, and other areas, analysis of historical ciphers with the help of modern computerized methods, unsolved historical cryptograms, the Enigma and other encryption machines, the history of modern (computer-based) cryptography, linguistic aspects of cryptology, the influence of cryptography on the course of history, or teaching and promoting cryptology in schools, universities, and the public.
HISTOCRYPT represents a continuation of the friendly events of European Historical Ciphers Colloquiums (EuroHCC) held in Heusenstamm (2012), Kassel (2016), and Smolenice (2017) to discuss on-going research in historical cryptology in Europe. Considering EuroHCC’s growing popularity among the crypto-historians and cryptographers and the established HICRYPT network on historical cryptology with over 90 members from 20 countries around the world, our aim is to establish HISTOCRYPT as an annual, world-wide event. The first event in the series takes place in 2018 at Uppsala University, Sweden. We are very happy that the conference has been internationally recognized outside Europe as well, and submissions are received from all over the world. It is a great honor to serve as the Program Chair for HISTOCRYPT 2018, to be held in Uppsala for the first time.
The scientific program was carefully planned by an international scientific program committee, consisting of researchers in cryptology, history, intelligence and language technology. The program committee invited paper submissions in two distinct tracks: regular papers up to 10 pages on substantial, original, and unpublished research, including empirical evaluation results, where appropriate; short papers up to 4 pages on smaller, focused contributions, work in progress, negative results, surveys, tutorials, or opinion pieces; or summarizing a software system to be accompanied by a live demonstration at the conference.
The conference received 24 submissions from all over Europe (Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK) as well as from Ghana, Israel, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and Uruguay.
Our primary goal in the program committee was to achieve a high quality program using a double-blind, rigorous review process. All papers were reviewed by at least three experts invited by the program committee members for reviewing. After discussion among the reviewers to synchronize recommendations, the final selection of the papers was made by the program committee. The decision was not an easy task due to many submissions with high scores and overall positive reviews, and the time and space constraints of the two day long main conference. Our goal was to include papers dealing with a wide variety of topics from various scientific areas of relevance to historical cryptology. We aimed at achieving balance between regular and short papers, and chose to accept papers—being regular or short—with high scores as oral talks, while we were more lenient with poster presentations. 66% of the regular papers and 33% of the short papers were accepted for oral presentations, while 22% of the regular papers and 50% of the short papers were accepted as posters and/or demos. In the final program, there are 16 regular, and 5 short papers, all collected in this volume, thematically structured, in the same order as they are presented during the conference.
In addition to the accepted papers, we are proud to present six invited keynote speakers, distinguished researchers from France, Germany, Israel, and the US. They cover different areas of the conference. Craig Bauer (York College of Pennsylvania) presents highlights from his book on the world’s greatest ciphers. Katherine Ellison (Illinois State University) talks about the central role of cryptology in the history of reading. Rémi Géraud tells us about his and David Naccache’s work (Ècole normale supérieure) on a French code from the late 19th century. Ephraim Lapid (Bar-Ilan University and IDC Herzliya) presents the thrilling story behind the British “Israeli Enigma”.
Given the location of HISTOCRYPT at Uppsala University, special attention is given to the heritage of Prof. Arne Beurling and his role in breaking the German teletype ciphers. Therefore, we invited Kjell-Ove Widman, professor emeritus in applied mathematics (University of Linköping) to talk about Arne Beurling as a mathematician and code breaker, and George Lasry (University of Kassel) to tell us about his very new methods to solve the “completely hopeless” T52, which Arne Beurling worked on and which can be found in the archives of the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA). And in connection to the poster and demo session, we organize an exhibition to show four Enigma machines, usually hidden in the FRA archive.
Lastly, the conference program also includes two workshops, organized by their own committees. The workshop on (Automated) Cryptanalysis of Classical Ciphers with CrypTool 2 demonstrates the open-source e-learning tool consisting of several classical and modern cryptographic algorithms where participants can learn and practice how to use CrypTool. The workshop Solving codes rather than ciphers. Is there a software challenge? focuses on the fascinating codes, encrypted messages word by word, aiming at finding solutions for breaking these.
These proceedings will provide a permanent record of the program. The conference proceedings are published by the Northern European Association for Language Technology (NEALT) Proceedings Series by Linköping University Electronic Press, as freely available Gold Open Access. The proceedings are indexed in the DBLP computer science bibliography and also published in the anthology of the Association of Computational Linguistics (ACL Anthology) in parallel.
Organizing a conference with an interesting and diverse program in a highly crossdisciplinary field is far from easy and relies on the goodwill of many researchers involved in the various scientific areas, all with their own traditions. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my great fellows on the program committee for their invaluable work, for fruitful discussions, and for sharing the effort of creating the program. A special thank goes to the steering committee, especially Arno Wacker, for his support and generous advice. I would also like to record my appreciation for the work of the 23 reviewers and 4 subreviewers for their time and effort to contribute to the reviewing, give constructive and collegial feedback, and help the program committee in the selection of papers. Wholehearted thanks go to the six keynote speakers, and the workshop organizers, as well as Anders H.Wik and Åsa Ljungqvist for bringing to light the Enigma machines and arranging the exhibition in connection to the demo session. I would also like to thank all authors without whom this conference would not have taken place! Nils Blomqvist deserves a huge and special thank for professionally serving as the proceedings co-manager. My greatest debt goes to the local organization, Eva Pettersson, for carrying the burden of the local organization, and Bengt Dahlqvist, for helping out with the on-line registration and the conference website. We are also extremely pleased to have received generous sponsorship from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences allowing free registration and covered accommodation and travel costs for many conference participants. Lastly, I am grateful to my nearest and dearest—my twins, bonus kids, and partner—for generously giving me the space to disappear into our world of hidden secrets from the past.
I wish you all a fruitful conference and hope you will enjoy HISTOCRYPT 2018!
Beáta Megyesi (Program Chair)