Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another Example From WWII

From Photon Courier comes this story about the British who broke Nazi codes:

During WWII, the British used electomechanical devices called bombes to break the German Enigma code. The bombe in its earliest form was developed by the Poles, but was considerably enhanced by the British. (The name probably came from an ice cream dessert popular among the Polish mathematicians who did the original work)...

Codebreaking, though, was by no means a purely mechanical function--it required considerable human insight and intuition. Few professional cryptanalysts were available, and those tasked with the work were mostly academics--there were many mathematicians, including the tragic genius Alan Turing, but also quite a few classicists. Bletchley also employed a large number of young women, most of whom performed operational and maintenance functions but some of whom served as cryptanalists. One of these was Mavis Lever, who was halfway through a degree in German when the war began....(boldface mine--Darren

When are we ever gonna have to use this, indeed.

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