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Detecting the loss of encoded data.

An increasing number of computer users are applying encryption techniques to conceal electronically transmitted information from all but authorized recipients. Indeed, encryption is already routinely used for the electronic transfer of funds from one bank to another. Howevr, the operation of such a scheme requires careful synchronization of the encryption and decryption processes. If an encrypted message arrives at its destination a few information bits longer or shorter than when it started, the message ends up completely garbled.

Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., have now developed improved electronic equipment designed to detect the loss of information because of improper synchronization during decoding. Conventional loss-detection methods require the injection of specific, recognizable patterns of bits into a message, which serve as a kind of identifying mark to provide assurance that no information has been added or lost in transit. The hardware developed by Lyndon G. Pierson and his co-workers improves on that approach by looking for the absence of certain information patterns rather than the presence of specific patterns. The new hardware detects faults about 50 times faster than conventional devices.
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Title Annotation:new equipment for detecting improper synchronization
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 7, 1991
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