Christie's auction and other computer history events

From: Paul Koning <>
Date: Fri Feb 18 15:07:39 2005

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Jennings <> writes:

 Tom> 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.

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

Rejewski died in 1980 according to a bio on the web...

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

It's actually written up reasonably well:

Then by way of contrast there is who pretends that the
Poles didn't do much and "Enigma was broken at Bletchley Park". Feh.
(And he says that in talking about a book which, judging by
descriptions in other places, says no such thing and instead gives
credit where it belongs.)

Received on Fri Feb 18 2005 - 15:07:39 GMT

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