Zkdecrypto: Lite edition

Programmer Dan Umanovskis has been busy running many experiments on the unsolved 340-character cipher. During his experiments, he used the zkdecrypto software to look for solutions for test ciphers and variations of the 340 cipher. But the current version of zkdecrypto can only work on one cipher at a time, and you have to click around in the user interface to kick off its search for solutions.

Dan needed a way to simplify and speed up the process, so he hacked together a command-line version called zkdecrypto-lite. Visit the project page, or go straight to the downloads page where you can find binaries for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. And read about how to use the program.

This version of zkdecrypto is really great for exploring ideas about the 340 cipher, because you can set up a bunch of test ciphers, and then run the command-line program on them all at once, instead of manually loading the ciphers one at a time into the user interface. (Side note: zkdecrypto was originally a command-line program written by Brax Sisco, who worked with other programmers to add the user interface to help make the program more user friendly. So, zkdecrypto is revisiting its roots!)

Here’s some info from Dan on how to use the program:

To invoke ZKDlite, call it with a parameter giving the relative path to the cipher that you wish to solve. Such as:

./zkdecrypto-lite cipher/408.zodiac.solved.txt

Invoked in that way, the program will run the solver for 2 minutes before outputting the result. It’s also possible to specify a stopping condition:

-t n will stop after n seconds.
-i n will stop after n solver iterations.
-s n will stop as soon as the score reaches n.

So for example,

./zkdecrypto-lite cipher/408.zodiac.solved.txt -s 44000

will work on the 408 until the score exceeds 44000. That’s a good value for testing, by the way, as the 408 cipher becomes comfortably readable at a score of 44000.

./zkdecrypto-lite cipher/408.zodiac.solved.txt -s 44000
44000,ISIHEHILSINGPEOPLEBECAUSEITITSOMUCHFUNITIUMORERUNTHANHILLING
WISDGAMEINTHEFORCESTBECAUTEMANISTHEMOATDANGERTUEANAMALORALLTO
HILLTOMETHINGGIVESMETHEMOATTHRILLINGEKPECENCEITISEVENBETTERTHAN
GETTINGYOURCOCHTOFRWITHAGIRSTHEBESTPARTOFITIATHAEWHENIDIEIWILL
BECEBORNINPARADICEUNDASSTHEIHAVEHISSEDWILLBECOMEMYSLAVETIWILS
NOTGIVEYOUMYNAMEBECAUSEYOUWISLTRYTOSLOIDOWNOCUTOPMYCOLLECTING
ORSSAVETFORMYAFTERLIREEBEORIETEMETHHPITI

When I run the above example on the solved 408 cipher, the program takes only a second and a half to find the (mostly) correct solution!

Thanks, Dan, for such a useful hack of zkdecrypto!