Essay about Claude Shannon's Contribution to Cryptography

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Before approaching Claude Shannon’s contribution to Cryptography, one must look at his prior work in particular in the field of information theory, a field he theorized in his 1948 paper A Mathematical Theory of Information. Shannon introduced a lot of the ideas that were mentioned and developed in this revolutionary paper to the scientific community in his 1945 paper entitled A Mathematical Theory of Cryptography.
Indeed, during the Second World War, Shannon decided to join the Bell Labs, a research facility concentrating many prominent scientists of the time who decided to use their talent to serve the war effort. While he was working at the Bell Labs, the facility was in charge of many secret projects such as the development of the X
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However, according to Shannon himself, what really launched him into the theorization of information was Ralph Hartley’s paper Transmission of Information. This paper developed “a measure of information that could in principle be used for discrete or continuous signals.” Hartley’s publication also proved that a channel’s bandwidth defines how much information can be sent through it. Since a channel’s bandwidth was limited and since continuous signals could be broken down in small steps before being sent through the channel, Hartley concluded that if the steps were small enough, the approximated signal would be not only close but identical to the original signal. Finally, Hartley realized that information could be the “resolving of uncertainty.” He developed a mathematical formula according to this concept to quantify the amount of information in a message but unfortunately, this formula was not complex enough and could not be applied to cases in which the constituents of a message did not have all the same chances of being selected. Indeed, “in written English for instance, some letters are used more frequently than others.” Hartley’s formula would not work when trying to encode sentences for example because he couldn’t model the fact that the letter E had more chances to be selected than any other.
Nonetheless, Shannon realized the potential of these discoveries and went on

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