The National Cipher Challenge is an event run by the University of Southampton Mathematical Department for school groups across the country. This year entries nearly doubled, with 7,500 participants from 80 schools.
Secondary school and college students aim to solve a series of ciphers issued by the University. This year marked the challenge’s 15th anniversary.
The winner of the gold medal, Alex Barter of Cotswold School in Gloucestershire, received £1000 prize money as well as the GCHQ prize for Best Individual Code Breaker.
A statement from the Director of the programme, Professor Graham Niblo said he was pleased with the increase in participation:
The demand for mathematicians across industry and finance is growing every year and the competition is designed to attract more young people in to the field. The talent shown by the thousands taking part this year gives me huge confidence that the future is bright for the subject.