Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Adam Landsberg

Reader 2

Chris Towse

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@ 2019 Julia L Ruiter


Although dynamical systems have a multitude of classical uses in physics and applied mathematics, new research in theoretical computer science shows that dynamical systems can also be used as a highly secure method of encrypting data. Properties of Lorenz and similar systems of equations yield chaotic outputs that are good at masking the underlying data both physically and mathematically. This paper aims to show how Lorenz systems may be used to encrypt text and image data, as well as provide a framework for how physical mechanisms may be built using these properties to transmit encrypted wave signals.


Almost everyone is familiar with the idea of the ``Butterfly Effect'': the idea that one small perturbation in the present can set the future on a wildly different course; this is the principle that defines the behavior of chaotic, dynamical systems. It is this unpredicability in dynamical systems that makes it a promising method of encrypting all kinds of data from sound bytes to images.