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(Daily Mail)   Group recreates a room sized WW II code breaking machine with all of the computational power of a cell phone   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 77
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9115 clicks; posted to Main » on 01 Apr 2009 at 9:30 AM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-04-01 07:19:04 AM  
img511.imageshack.us

Veeeeery interesting.
 
2009-04-01 07:39:56 AM  
Yes, with picts

Were they grooving?
 
2009-04-01 07:44:41 AM  
Awesome. I've wanted to see what those looked like and how they functioned. I wonder just how complicated a code would have to be to take 11 minutes to crack with a modern computer...
 
2009-04-01 07:50:09 AM  
Picts? I hope nobody was hurt, those guys are unpredictable.
 
2009-04-01 09:07:02 AM  
RobertBruce: Awesome. I've wanted to see what those looked like and how they functioned. I wonder just how complicated a code would have to be to take 11 minutes to crack with a modern computer...

it takes about 4 minutes to break WEP. WPA takes a bit longer.
 
2009-04-01 09:17:32 AM  
So it lets people perform complex tasks in the car without paying attention? That's a valuable device, especially back in the 40s.
 
2009-04-01 09:29:43 AM  
RobertBruce: Awesome. I've wanted to see what those looked like and how they functioned. I wonder just how complicated a code would have to be to take 11 minutes to crack with a modern computer...

I have always wanted to see one too.

//that machine makes my geeky parts get all tingly... :)
///too bad narrow-mindedness cost Turing his life.
 
2009-04-01 09:39:26 AM  
I'd be much more interested in a re-creation of SIGSALY (new window). That's impressive.
 
2009-04-01 09:41:06 AM  
RobertBruce: Awesome. I've wanted to see what those looked like and how they functioned. I wonder just how complicated a code would have to be to take 11 minutes to crack with a modern computer...

Well, it'd have to be a code so complicated only a modern computer could create it. So, yeah, any half-decent encryption works.
 
2009-04-01 09:44:54 AM  
Cool, but I'll stick with my cell phone.
 
2009-04-01 09:45:52 AM  
No code was better than "John has a long moustache"
 
2009-04-01 09:47:26 AM  
No one can decrypt the speech of a 2 year old so....
 
2009-04-01 09:56:47 AM  
At the National Security Agency Museum they have a real Bombe as well as a recreation of SIGSALY. They also have real working Enigma machines that you can setup and make your own codes. If you're uber geeky, then this is a really cool place to check out.

I was in the Navy and worked at NSA briefly. Below is a link. Not poppy...

http://www.nsa.gov/about/cryptologic_heritage/museum/index.shtml
 
2009-04-01 10:02:53 AM  
hAZy:

I haven't been to the NSA museum myself, in the best spirit of the place I sent an agent. I would just like to add that they will send you the world's most neeto coffee mug there. Capacious, black on the inside, white on the outside, gold rim, sturdy handle, w/ the NSA seal emblazoned on the front. Seriously, this is my favorite mug!
 
2009-04-01 10:09:33 AM  
Considering the computers that got us to the Moon had the combined power of a Commodore 64, I think a basic cellphone is MUCH more powerful than the Turing computer.

But still...I'm fascinated by old computing technology. Considering what they had to work with, only incredible genius was able to get it to work at all. I mean, come on - some of those designers used LIQUID MEMORY. How in the fark do you make THAT happen?
 
2009-04-01 10:12:08 AM  
FTFA: "The machine was named after an earlier Polish code-breaking machine called a Bomba."

1. "However, the Polish computer only broke Polish codes and then automatically transmitted the results to the enemy."

2. "It differed from its predecessor in that it actually broke the codes, rather than making them into new, more-difficult-to-break codes."
 
2009-04-01 10:17:36 AM  
I'm still reading Cryptonomicon so I got a kick out of this article.

/Qwlghm
 
2009-04-01 10:20:14 AM  
rufus-t-firefly: Considering the computers that got us to the Moon had the combined power of a Commodore 64, I think a basic cellphone is MUCH more powerful than the Turing computer.


Actually, this isn't really a "computer" in the modern sense of the word: There is no real storage on the machine, and it can't really do any calculations.

All it really does is cycle through the possible rotor settings in a swift manner and check to make sure there aren't any contradictions (with an Enigma, no letter can ever be enciphered as itself).

The bombes just made the repetitious task of checking for errors *MUCH* faster. All the hard "thinking" was still done by wetware.
 
2009-04-01 10:22:04 AM  
Just finished Cryptonomicon for the upteenth time last night, so I have a ton of quotes floating around. I'll just go with now Alan Turing might be able to find those silver bars.
 
2009-04-01 10:23:20 AM  
if this stuff interests you, you may get a kick out of Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. Hats off to Sxacho for the reference.
 
2009-04-01 10:23:22 AM  
rufus-t-firefly: LIQUID MEMORY. How in the fark do you make THAT happen?

I use LIQUID NON-MEMORY myself. Available everywhere in convenient fifths, except on Sunday.


/mercury delay lines FTW
 
2009-04-01 10:24:06 AM  
sxacho: I'm still reading Cryptonomicon so I got a kick out of this article.

/Qwlghm


Take it from a former SIGINT weenie, and someone familiar with the history of both SIGINT and the Battle of the Atlantic: The Cryptonomicon is crap.

I had really high hopes for that book: It had just about everything I love, signals intelligence, codebreaking, U-boats, you name it. I found parts of it laughable, others just plain weird, and all told it was less than the sum of it's parts.

Oh, and I won't give away the sucky ending.
 
2009-04-01 10:24:15 AM  
Gulper Eel: Yes, with picts

Were they grooving?


With several small species of furry animals?
 
2009-04-01 10:24:23 AM  
As part of a 7th grade history project, my son built a replica of an Enigma machine (yeah, balsa wood, dowels, etc. Give the kid a break. At least it did have one circuit in it so you'd push a key and the corresponding "code" would light up). Anyway, he got the teacher so hooked on code breaking, etc. that from then on he always runs an espionage game with the kids when they study WWII. He still has that Enigma machine in his classroom. I think it would fascinating to go see the museum at Bletchley Park. Anyone been there?
 
2009-04-01 10:24:34 AM  
Waste of time.
 
2009-04-01 10:25:51 AM  
Amazing.

This thing and the people behind it were what won the war.

I doff my hat to you Alan Turing.

In Manchester there is a statue to Turing of a lone figure sitting on a bench holding an apple.

Turing was gay and was victimised for it after all he did for this country. He killed himself by eating a poisoned apple.

Neither the Govt, nor The MOD, nor Manchester University, nor Manchester City Council would stump up a single penny towards the memorial. It was paid for by the gay community.

Nice work boys n girls.
 
2009-04-01 10:27:57 AM  
rufus-t-firefly FTFA: "The machine was named after an earlier Polish code-breaking machine called a Bomba."

1. "However, the Polish computer only broke Polish codes and then automatically transmitted the results to the enemy."


New keyboard... Owe me you do.
 
2009-04-01 10:31:55 AM  
whereas my cellphone is about the size of a WWII code breaking machine
 
2009-04-01 10:32:32 AM  
rufus-t-firefly: Considering the computers that got us to the Moon had the combined power of a Commodore 64,

I don't think so. IBM 360s had much larger registers than a 6502's, and the memory configurations where easily able to go beyond 64KB, and let's not mention the insane I/O capacities of mainframes.
 
2009-04-01 10:35:06 AM  
ComicBookGuy: Gulper Eel: Yes, with picts

Were they grooving?

With several small species of furry animals?


Only in a cave.
 
2009-04-01 10:35:10 AM  
BiblioTech: As part of a 7th grade history project, my son built a replica of an Enigma machine (yeah, balsa wood, dowels, etc. Give the kid a break. At least it did have one circuit in it so you'd push a key and the corresponding "code" would light up). Anyway, he got the teacher so hooked on code breaking, etc. that from then on he always runs an espionage game with the kids when they study WWII. He still has that Enigma machine in his classroom. I think it would fascinating to go see the museum at Bletchley Park. Anyone been there?

No, but there is a guy who schleps his Engima collection around to the various hamfests. I've seen them several times.

Here is his website: ENIGMA CIPHER MACHINES, FIALKA, NEMA, OTHER CIPHER MACHINES, ANTIQUE COMPUTERS AND CALCULATORS.
 
2009-04-01 10:36:24 AM  
dittybopper: sxacho: I'm still reading Cryptonomicon so I got a kick out of this article.

/Qwlghm

Take it from a former SIGINT weenie, and someone familiar with the history of both SIGINT and the Battle of the Atlantic: The Cryptonomicon is crap.

I had really high hopes for that book: It had just about everything I love, signals intelligence, codebreaking, U-boats, you name it. I found parts of it laughable, others just plain weird, and all told it was less than the sum of it's parts.

Oh, and I won't give away the sucky ending.


I don't doubt that it's crap in a certain sense. It's fiction after all. I like it though. When I read I don't take notes in the margins or look for deep meanings as I'm reading (that's what post-reading and re-reading are for) or look for historical inaccuracies (which I'm certain are numerous). I mainly like a good story.

So far (about 2/3 through), it's a fairly interesting story about a subject I never really had an interest in. Now that I'm interested I might expand my reading a bit and learn more about it, possibly coming to the conclusion, after it's all read and done, that the book is crap. So be it.
 
2009-04-01 10:37:03 AM  
sigersonic: Amazing.

This thing and the people behind it were what won the war.

I doff my hat to you Alan Turing.

In Manchester there is a statue to Turing of a lone figure sitting on a bench holding an apple.

Turing was gay and was victimised for it after all he did for this country. He killed himself by eating a poisoned apple.

Neither the Govt, nor The MOD, nor Manchester University, nor Manchester City Council would stump up a single penny towards the memorial. It was paid for by the gay community.

Nice work boys n girls.



For more post-war British farkery, read "A Question Of Honor", which deals with the Polish expats who flew for the RAF during the war... after 303 Squadron became the highest-scoring RAF squadron during the Battle of Britain and a further four and a half years of fighting and dying under the British flag, they were given 72 hours to get the hell out of the country by Churchill, and not even allowed to march in the Victory Parade.

After finishing that book, I was ready to go piss on Churchill's grave, and might still do so if given the chance.

/England: Pissing off and abandoning their most loyal allies and subjects since 1946.
 
2009-04-01 10:37:22 AM  
Quantum Apostrophe: rufus-t-firefly: Considering the computers that got us to the Moon had the combined power of a Commodore 64,

I don't think so. IBM 360s had much larger registers than a 6502's, and the memory configurations where easily able to go beyond 64KB, and let's not mention the insane I/O capacities of mainframes.


The section now illuminated is the Floating Point Unit, one of my personal favorite units.

/Got nothin'
 
2009-04-01 10:39:27 AM  
I'll bet subby still has his pants around his ankles and is almost out of cheetos.
 
2009-04-01 10:40:07 AM  
when I see things like this it amazes me that they did so much during WWII with so little. my parents told me about rationing and shortages. you'd never see that level of commitment these days.
 
2009-04-01 10:42:09 AM  
one0nine: England: Pissing off and abandoning their most loyal allies and subjects since 1946.

Ha! They were doing that _long_ before 1946.
 
2009-04-01 10:42:26 AM  
NYRBill: when I see things like this it amazes me that they did so much during WWII with so little. my parents told me about rationing and shortages. you'd never see that level of commitment these days.

Yeah, now we just borrow from our children and our children's children.

Sacrifice? Pfff, that's for commies.
 
2009-04-01 10:43:36 AM  
This is the machine that the Republican party is going to use to unravel Obama's mess after the 2012 election.
 
2009-04-01 10:44:38 AM  
Quantum Apostrophe: rufus-t-firefly: Considering the computers that got us to the Moon had the combined power of a Commodore 64,

I don't think so. IBM 360s had much larger registers than a 6502's, and the memory configurations where easily able to go beyond 64KB, and let's not mention the insane I/O capacities of mainframes.


The actual computers onboard the spacecraft were much more limited, though. In modern parlance, they had roughly 4K of RAM, and 32K of ROM.

My Tandy Color Computer circa 1983 was more powerful.

Apollo Guidance Computer.
 
2009-04-01 10:49:45 AM  
That's pretty nifty.

Although, an interesting WWII computing machine I'd like to see rebuilt and running would be an IBM/Dehomag Hollerith machine.
 
2009-04-01 10:50:54 AM  
sxacho: dittyboppe: sxacho: I'm still eading Cyptonomicon so I got a kick out of this aticle.

/Qwlghm

Take it fom a fome SIGINT weenie, and someone familia with the histoy of both SIGINT and the Battle of the Atlantic: The Cyptonomicon is cap.

I had eally high hopes fo that book: It had just about eveything I love, signals intelligence, codebeaking, U-boats, you name it. I found pats of it laughable, othes just plain weid, and all told it was less than the sum of it's pats.

Oh, and I won't give away the sucky ending.

I don't doubt that it's cap in a cetain sense. It's fiction afte all. I like it though. When I ead I don't take notes in the magins o look fo deep meanings as I'm eading (that's what post-eading and e-eading ae fo) o look fo histoical inaccuacies (which I'm cetain ae numeous). I mainly like a good stoy.

So fa (about 2/3 though), it's a faily inteesting stoy about a subject I neve eally had an inteest in. Now that I'm inteested I might expand my eading a bit and lean moe about it, possibly coming to the conclusion, afte it's all ead and done, that the book is cap. So be it.


Pehaps I was a bit stong in my opinion.

Let me put it this way: I have enough knowledge about a numbe of the subjects in the book that I couldn't just willingly suspend my disbelief. Evey time I'd come up against something that I knew was wong, it would ja me back to eality.

On the bight side, though, I did finish the entie book, so pehaps it isn't *THAT* bad, but it was bad enough that I haven't gone back to e-ead it, which is something in and of itself.

Thee is only one othe book I haven't gone back to e-ead because of issues with suspension of disbelief: "Rainbow Six" by Tom Clancy (the DKL Lifeguad ang my bullshiat detecto loud and clea even befoe I knew it was a faud).
 
2009-04-01 10:52:52 AM  
dittybopper: sxacho: dittyboppe: sxacho: I'm still eading Cyptonomicon so I got a kick out of this aticle.

/Qwlghm

Take it fom a fome SIGINT weenie, and someone familia with the histoy of both SIGINT and the Battle of the Atlantic: The Cyptonomicon is cap.

I had eally high hopes fo that book: It had just about eveything I love, signals intelligence, codebeaking, U-boats, you name it. I found pats of it laughable, othes just plain weid, and all told it was less than the sum of it's pats.

Oh, and I won't give away the sucky ending.

I don't doubt that it's cap in a cetain sense. It's fiction afte all. I like it though. When I ead I don't take notes in the magins o look fo deep meanings as I'm eading (that's what post-eading and e-eading ae fo) o look fo histoical inaccuacies (which I'm cetain ae numeous). I mainly like a good stoy.

So fa (about 2/3 though), it's a faily inteesting stoy about a subject I neve eally had an inteest in. Now that I'm inteested I might expand my eading a bit and lean moe about it, possibly coming to the conclusion, afte it's all ead and done, that the book is cap. So be it.

Pehaps I was a bit stong in my opinion.

Let me put it this way: I have enough knowledge about a numbe of the subjects in the book that I couldn't just willingly suspend my disbelief. Evey time I'd come up against something that I knew was wong, it would ja me back to eality.

On the bight side, though, I did finish the entie book, so pehaps it isn't *THAT* bad, but it was bad enough that I haven't gone back to e-ead it, which is something in and of itself.

Thee is only one othe book I haven't gone back to e-ead because of issues with suspension of disbelief: "Rainbow Six" by Tom Clancy (the DKL Lifeguad ang my bullshiat detecto loud and clea even befoe I knew it was a faud).


I don't think your R key works. You missed nearly every one.
 
2009-04-01 10:53:30 AM  
In the United States, a project like this would qualify for federal funding as an "economic stimulus" project.
 
2009-04-01 10:56:57 AM  
James Bond will soon shut it down.

(a series called Young James Bond. the last book dealt with his 14 year old self rescuing the designer of the code breaker machine... I really need to stop listening to family about good books)
 
2009-04-01 11:00:33 AM  
kramers_hair: NYRBill: when I see things like this it amazes me that they did so much during WWII with so little. my parents told me about rationing and shortages. you'd never see that level of commitment these days.

Yeah, now we just borrow from our children and our children's children.


They did that then, too: The UK just made their final $83.3 million dollar Lend/Lease payment on December 29th, 2006.

In 1934, the UK stopped paying us the $4.4 billion dollars they still owed us for WWI, after we agreed to a 1 year deferment. Adjusted for inflation (without even considering interest), they currently owe us around $450 billion.
 
2009-04-01 11:01:50 AM  
Sir Charles:
I don't think your R key works. You missed nearly every one.


It's April Fools Day. It's Drew having a bit of fun.
 
2009-04-01 11:04:27 AM  
I think it would fascinating to go see the museum at Bletchley Park. Anyone been there?

Yes, and it's awesome. War museum for geeks. You can actually see the Colossus reconstruction in operation. If you like radio and cypher gear, make sure you show up on a Saturday when the tiny museum of the Diplomatic Wireless Service is open as well.

And if you see any elderly people walking around the museum -- which you will -- they probably worked there during the war. Based on our (admittedly unscientific) sampling.
 
2009-04-01 11:13:34 AM  
Code-breakers including former Wrens Ruth Bourne and Jean Valentine, pictured above, returned for a reunion at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, where they worked in top secret in blacked-out, cupboard-sized spaces.

Working in a dark, top secret cupboard may have been part of the job sixty years ago, but to do it again at the reunion?
 
2009-04-01 11:20:29 AM  
They shouldn't have tried chemicals to cure Alan Turing of the gayness. A spot of military discipline would have done the trick, I'm sure. Being tied to a post, naked, and whipped by muscular young officers in jodphurs and knee-high boots would have set him straight.
 
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