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VMs: Cryptology As a Discipline
C W Lee notes, anent to my question about the academic worthiness of
>I agree, but how many major universities or colleges
>can you name that have a department of cryptograhy,
>or even offer a minor in cryptographic studies? How
>many other, lesser known, institutions of higher
>education have such studies? Can you even name
>a junior college somewhere that has a course in
Beside the point, as many disciplines began without their later academic
credentials. How many junior colleges, colleges, or universities had a
Department of Computer Science in 1946? How many accredited institutions
had an aeronautical engineering course in 1904?
For the record, during World War II, many colleges were occupied by the
various military services to educate officers. Odds are that under those
unusual circumstances, there were several courses on various aspects of
cryptology. I have in my modest crypto collection a copy of TM11-485,
Advanced Military Cryptography, issued on 8 June 1944, and (uncritically)
authored by the great William F. Friedman. I suspect that it was
employed in a number of offficer-training courses.
The question may better be, why _hasn't_ Cryptology become an academic
discipline whereas Aeronautics, Computer Science, and later disciplines
have become? The answer is probably because of perceived demand.
Frankly, many academic disciplines are training grounds for future
practitioners in their area of interest. Somebody entering an
institution of higher education usually has some idea off a career path,
be it medicine, engineering, research, or pure scholarship. Very few
students are struck with the ambition to become a Cryptologist and/or
cryptanalyst. So the chances are that no institution has perceived a
need for such a department. Probably only the cipher aspects of
cryptology would be candidates to become a subfield of Computer Science.
Other areas such as Steganography or other nondigital means of message
concealment would be outside the areas of interest to a Computer Science
My comment, "Any discipline with the depth and scope of modern cryptology
is as valid an academic discipline as any other," still holds. That no
institute has not bestirred itself to develop such a department is not
the fault of the discipline.
That is why I still believe that the best place to receive the collection
would be the National Security Agency's museum.
Stephen A. Kallis, Jr.
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