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The Crack of the “Copiale Cipher”

November 16, 2012

USC Scientist Cracks Mysterious “Copiale Cipher”

USC’s Professor Kevin Knight is part of an international team that finally cracked the “Copiale Cipher,” a strange, 105-page message handwritten in abstract symbols and Latin letters revealing the rituals and political leanings of a 18th-century secret society in Germany.

Uploaded by USC on oct. 12, 2011

*They Cracked This 250 Year-Old Code, And Found a Secret Society Inside

“As a Mason you are not allowed to write down—let alone publish—your rituals,” Snoek said. So how do you spread your ideas? You publish esoteric rites as if they are exposures—public outings of Masonry. Except you publish in code, so only an elite cadre of fellow Masons can read the dangerous things you have to say. And when your mission is over, you stuff all the evidence into a box that doesn’t get opened for nearly 150 years. The Oculists guarded and transmitted the Masons’ deepest secrets, Snoek believes, using a mixture of ritual, misdirection, and cryptography.

*Want to speak Chinese without learning it? Here’s how

New “deep neural networks” technology out of Microsoft and the University of Toronto claims to not only translate your English into Mandarin but to speak it in your voice. Microsoft head researcher Richard Rashid demonstrated the technology in China recently.

Talk about your time savers. New research from Microsoft and the University of Toronto may make it possible for non-Chinese speakers to “speak” the language in their own voices without having to learn the language. Given the trade relationships between the US and China, this could be a really big deal if it works as advertised.

While great strides have been made in speech recognition over the past decades, the current systems still carry word error rates of 20 percent to 25 percent when handling “arbitrary speech,” Microsoft’s Richard Rashid wrote in a blog post. (Do you hear that Siri?)

But now, new technology called Deep Neural Networks, which mimics the way the human brain operates, enables much more discriminating speech recognition, according to Rashid, Microsoft’s chief research officer.

By Barb Darrow

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