Colossus: The Secrets Of Bletchley Park's Code-Breaking Computers

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Overview


The American ENIAC is customarily regarded as having been the starting point of electronic computation. This book rewrites the history of computer science, arguing that in reality Colossus--the giant computer built by the British secret service during World War II--predates ENIAC by two years.

Colossus was built during the Second World War at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Until very recently, much about the Colossus machine was shrouded in secrecy, largely because the code-breaking algorithms that were employed during World War II remained in use by the British security services until a short time ago. In addition, the United States has recently declassified a considerable volume of wartime documents relating to Colossus. Jack Copeland has brought together memoirs of veterans of Bletchley Park--the top-secret headquarters of Britain's secret service--and others who draw on the wealth of declassified information to illuminate the crucial role Colossus played during World War II. Included here are pieces by the former WRENS who actually worked the machine, the scientist who pioneered the use of vacuum tubes in data processing, and leading authorities on code-breaking and computer science.

A must read for anyone curious about code-breaking or World War II espionage, Colossus offers a fascinating insider's account of the world first giant computer, the great great grandfather of the massive computers used today by the CIA and the National Security Agency.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192840554
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/4/2006
  • Series: Popular Science Series
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Copeland is a Reader in Philosophy and Director of the Turing Project at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. A contributor to Scientific American, his books include Turing's Machines, Artificial Intelligence, and The Essential Turing.

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Table of Contents

1 A brief history of cryptography from Caesar to Bletchley Park 9
2 How it began : Bletchley Park goes to war 18
3 The German Tunny machine 36
4 Colossus, codebreaking, and the digital age 52
5 Machine against machine 64
6 D-Day at Bletchley Park 78
7 Intercept! 84
8 Colossus 91
9 Colossus and the rise of the modern computer 101
10 The PC-user's guide to Colossus 116
11 Of mice and machines 141
12 The Colossus rebuild 150
13 Mr Newman's section 157
14 Max Newman - mathematician, codebreaker, and computer pioneer 176
15 Living with fish : breaking Tunny in the Newmanry and the Testery 189
16 From Hut 8 to the Newmanry 204
17 Codebreaking and Colossus 223
18 Major Tester's section 249
19 Setter and breaker 260
20 An ATS girl in the Testery 264
21 The Testery and the breaking of fish 269
22 Dollis Hill at war 281
23 The British Tunny machine 291
24 How Colossus was built and operated - one of its engineers reveals its secrets 297
25 Bletchley Park's sturgeon - the fish that laid no eggs 307
26 German teleprinter traffic and Swedish wartime intelligence 328
App. A1 Timeline : the breaking of Tunny 337
App. A2 The teleprinter alphabet 348
App. A3 The Tunny Addition Square 350
App. A4 My work at Bletchley Park 352
App. A5 The tiltman break 370
App. A6 Turingery 378
App. A7 [Delta][subscript [Chi]]-method 386
App. A8 Newman's theorem 391
App. A9 Rectangling 396
App. A10 The motor-wheels and limitations 406
App. A11 Motorless Tunny 409
App. A12 Origins of the fish cypher machines 411
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Professor Copeland has compiled an excellent book telling the story in both human and technical terms of the building of Colossus and of the extraordinary efforts which resulted in the breaking of the Lorenz cipher, known as Tunny. It is an exciting story, The Germmans thought they had an unbreakable cipher and used it for the highest level communications, including those from Hitler himself to his commanders in the field.
    Some of the chapters may be a little too technicla for the average reader, but there is plenty of material that needs no technical knowledge to understand. The book is well illustrated and tells clearly how the world's first programmable computer was built. This story could not be toild earlier as there was a complete embargo preventing any of the peoople involved in any way from talking about it - even to their spouses.

    As one of the survivors of the team in the "Testery" which was able to break the German Tunny traffic on a daily basis so that top secret German infomartion could be passed to the allied commanders, I am grateful to Professor Copeland for compiling this excellent book. With the help of a number of contributors who were directly involved he tells the story well and it is an excciting story. The books is well illustrated with both photographs and diagrams.

    This story reaklly eeded to be told. Thhe geniuses whose work it describes have never been properly recognized. I am delighted that Professor Copeland has done something to right this situation

    I recommend the book highly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Interesting, but not a page-turner

    I found the overall story compelling. However, the focus of the book was mostly on technical details and the personalities involved. While both were interesting, I was hoping to hear how the allies were able to make use of the information gleaned from the various encryption systems they were able to exploit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 6, 2013

    WOW... I love MyDeals247 model - they create competition among t

    WOW... I love MyDeals247 model - they create competition among the sellers real-time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

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