Experimental Analysis of the Dorabella Cipher with Statistical Language Models

Bradley Hauer, Colin Choi, Anirudh Sundar, Abram Hindle, Scott Smallwood, Grzegorz Kondrak

2021/04/23

Experimental Analysis of the Dorabella Cipher with Statistical Language Models

Authors

Bradley Hauer, Colin Choi, Anirudh Sundar, Abram Hindle, Scott Smallwood, Grzegorz Kondrak

Venue

Abstract

The Dorabella cipher is a symbolic message written in 1897 by English composer Edward Elgar. We analyze the cipher using modern computational and statistical techniques. We consider several open questions: Is the underlying message natural language text or music? If it is language, what is the most likely language? Is Dorabella a simple substitution cipher? If so, why has nobody managed to produce a plausible decipherment? Are some unusual-looking patterns in the cipher likely to occur by chance? Can state-of-the-art algorithmic solvers decipher at least some words of the message? This work is intended as a contribution towards finding answers to these questions.

Bibtex

@inproceedings{hauer2021HistoCrypt-dorabella,
 abstract = {The Dorabella cipher is a symbolic message written in 1897 by English composer Edward Elgar. We analyze the cipher using modern computational and statistical techniques. We consider several open questions: Is the underlying message natural language text or music? If it is language, what is the most likely language? Is Dorabella a simple substitution cipher? If so, why has nobody managed to produce a plausible decipherment? Are some unusual-looking patterns in the cipher likely to occur by chance? Can state-of-the-art algorithmic solvers decipher at least some words of the message? This work is intended as a contribution towards finding answers to these questions.},
 accepted = {2021-04-23},
 author = {Bradley Hauer and Colin Choi and Anirudh Sundar and Abram Hindle and Scott Smallwood and Grzegorz Kondrak},
 authors = {Bradley Hauer, Colin Choi, Anirudh Sundar, Abram Hindle, Scott Smallwood, Grzegorz Kondrak},
 booktitle = {The International Conference on Historical Cryptology (HistoCrypt 2021)},
 code = {hauer2021HistoCrypt-dorabella},
 date = {2021-09-20},
 funding = {NSERC Discovery},
 pagerange = {1--10},
 pages = {1--10},
 role = {co-author},
 title = {Experimental Analysis of the Dorabella Cipher with Statistical Language Models},
 type = {inproceedings},
 url = {http://softwareprocess.ca/pubs/hauer2021HistoCrypt-dorabella.pdf},
 venue = {The International Conference on Historical Cryptology (HistoCrypt 2021)},
 year = {2021}
}