Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Global contest nets encryption standard," by Ivars Peterson. Science News, 7 October 2000, page 231.

This article discusses the new encryption standard adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Three years ago, NIST initiated a worlwide competition to develop a new encryption standard. The winner of the competition was Rijndael, developed by researchers in Belgium. "At the heart of Rijndael is a mathematical procedure that manipulates blocks of numbers by shifting rows and columns in ways that are impossible to discern without applying the correct numerical key," the article states. After a period of public comment, Rijndael will become the federal government's new method for securing sensitive but unclassified information.

--- Allyn Jackson

American Mathematical Society