IIT's parabolic antennas atop the Stuart Building have recently picked some strange messages from the outer space. It is as of yet unclear whether these messages have any meaning or are just random sequences of 0s and 1s coming from some unidentified source. Making any sense of these messages is of course a big job and the school is feverishly working on it. You are asked to join in the collective effort. A brief description of the problem is given in the enclosed memorandum and in the email your instructor has received from the Chairman of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics (CSAM) at IIT.
DATE: November 1, 1995
TO: Robert Carlson, Chairman of the CSAM Department
FROM: Lew Collens, President of IIT
SUBJECT: Alien encounters
As you know some of our best scientists are trying to decipher a series of messages we have recently received through antennas on the Stuart Building. It seems that messages have an alien origin though we have not completely ruled out other possibilities.
I ask you to assist us in solving the puzzle. Your Department recommends itself for this job through the high quality faculty and some of the finest students at this University.
Some of the files with messages will be made available to the whole IIT community for research.
Your cooperation is highly appreciated.
From carlson Wed Nov 1 12:14:34 1995 Received: by charlie.acc.iit.edu (950215.SGI.8.6.10/940406.SGI) for virgil id MAA28491; Wed, 1 Nov 1995 12:14:33 -0600 Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 12:14:33 -0600 From: carlson (Robert Carlson) Message-Id: <199511011814.MAA28491@charlie.acc.iit.edu> To: virgil Subject: Help Status: R Dear Virgil, As you probably know our Department is currently busy working to solve the mistery surrounding the messages IIT has picked through its antennas. One thing we are looking for in these messages is signs that the supposedly alien creatures know about ways we identify in the society. More specifically, we suspect our Social Security Numbers may be hidden in the strings of 0s and 1s we received. We suggest that a 32 bit representation could be used for this purpose. Finding a specific string in a larger string can be easily done using a Finite State Machine. Given that you have just taught FSMs in your class, we ask you to use your students' expertise in this matter. To be more precise, we'd like to have each student search for her/his SSN in the file containing one of the messages (~1 MByte) we have got. Assuming they find their SSN hidden in the file, it would be useful to know how many times it appears. For your convenience a compressed file (zip) is also available: you can uncompress it using gunzip or something similar. Or you may download the file using anonymous ftp from delta.csam.iit.edu the directory /pub/cs330/fall_1995. The file is called alien.zip We really appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Sincerely, --Bob
Posted November 1, 1995.
Last modified: November 10, 1995.
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