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 MUG 2024Montreal, Canada 22-27 September, 2024
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I was researching maths jokes on the web (as one does when waiting for the computer to finish something), and came across the quip that an engineer is someone who thinks “Dilbert” is a documentary.   I suspect anyone who works for a large organization will find a certain familiarity with the absurdities of office life as experienced by Dilbert and his colleagues.  It may surprise you that Scott Adams, Dilbert’s creator, is not himself an engineer.   In his book on business management – The Dilbert Principle: Chapter 14  “Engineers, Scientist, Programmers and Other Odd People” – he explains that  in working with them over the years  he learned “their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much like Jane Goodall learned about the great apes.  In time I came to respect and appreciate the ways of engineers”.   He observes, that it is generally safe to generalize observations about engineers to other technology professionals, so he really means all of us who might fit in that list when he says

473   391   473  671   67  851  341   71  47    3149    2923    11    3233    141    407    2747    1    2021    11    731    989    121    61    10    43    166    1147    2    166    97    793    1927    2    53    2867    111    451    73    3053    851    23    71    1541    67    1739    869    7    23    13    1349    671    11    122    11    2021    53    2867    111    451    67    38    301    851    97    158    46    74    111    11    1349    1067    83    851    37    305    22    781    71    209    1403    47    3569    53    2867    111    451    67

Ah – can’t read that?   I decided to encrypt it.  Why?  Decode it and see.

I was inspired by modern digital encryption to  create a new coding system to challenge your cracking skills.  Every number in the message represents a pair of characters.  “1” stands for a full stop followed by a space.  Any other prime number is a letter and either a space or a full stop.   A semi-prime represents two adjacent letters.  Each prime number stands in for the same letter throughout the text.    Replace the numbers with letters to reveal the quote.   When you are ready to translate from numbers to text remember that I like to start at the beginning and keep things in order.

Kudos and mentions on the Desk to successful solvers. [Honour of the first solution submitted this year goes to Roger Main, 27th December]