Christie's auction and other computer history events

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Fri Feb 18 14:50:14 2005

On Fri, 18 Feb 2005, Paul Koning wrote:

> Another example of misattribution is Enigma; usually it's reported
> that the Brits (at Bletchley) broke it with the help of Turing's
> machines. Not true. The Poles broke Enigma; what the Brits did is
> mechanize the process and turn it into a production line. Definitely
> good innovative work, but giving them credit for breaking the system
> is definitely inaccurate.

Oh yes, totally true. To their credit, the people doing the
Bletchely work seemed to have given credit to the Poles. It's
mostly later writers to emphasize the british effort, which was
obviously huge, but also it's documentable -- they survived. Not
sure about the Poles who did the groundwork.

In fact after reading Hodges' book, the Polish story screams out
for attention. Those people worked out, in their underground, ways
to decode *mechanically* (holed cards and knitting needles sort of
thing) deep mathematical solutions to practical problems. THey
could not produce fast enough for strategic advantage, but worked
out all sorts of process, then passed it to the British, if I
recall, at actual loss of life. Then no one ever researched this
as far as I can tell. It's pretty damned extraordinary.
Received on Fri Feb 18 2005 - 14:50:14 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:37:39 BST