How The Most Important Code Of WWII Was Cracked

The breaking of the Enigma Code is one of the most interesting stories in the history of computing — but it's not necessarily easy to get your head around. Fortunately, this video provides an amazingly straightforward explanation of how the code was cracked.

James Grime, a mathematician from Cambridge University, explains how Turing and his coworkers managed to defeat the German encryption. It all stemmed from the fact that the code contained a subtle flaw: a letter was never encrypted in such a way that it was represented by itself once coded. From there, Turing was able to work out a solution.

Of course, the problem was that the code changed every night. So Turing built the Bombe: a machine that could crack the code, every morning, in just 20 minutes. At this point, I'll hand over to James — who can describe the whole process far more elegantly than I could ever hope to. [YouTube]


Comments

    And as a reward for this incredible feat, that arguably turned the war, they arrested and convicted him for having a Homosexual relationship!

      A number of notable scientists have petitioned the UK government to have this overturned, as the previous government had only apologised. The current government would struggle with that as the problem is that Turing was guilty as charged, regardless of how a modern society feels about the crime.

        If things that were legal when they were done weren't able to be reversed, none of the Nazis could ever be charged with anything. Everything they did was legal under German law at the time.

        Gotta use common sense somewhere.

    The only thing I have about the cracking of the Enigma cipher is that there are loads of books about the subject, yet none of them talk about who developed the cipher in the first place. After all, if it took geniuses to crack it, then someone or someones almost as gifted developed the cipher and the mechanisms to use it.

    Can't find James Grime on Wikipedia... He's not even listed on teh first page of google results!!!

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