Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Second World War Code-cracking Computing Hero Colossus Turns 70

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the piece-of-history dept.

Math 110

DW100 writes "The Colossus computer that helped the Allies crack messages sent by the Nazis during the Second World War has celebrated its 70th birthday. The machine was a pioneering feat of engineering, able to read 5,000 characters a second to help the team at Bletchley Park crack the German's Lorenz code in rapid time. This helped the Allies gather vital information on the Nazi's plans, and is credited with helping end the war effort early, saving millions of lives."

cancel ×

110 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

MOVIN’ ON UP. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171307)

More like movin' on out to Reddit and Ars if they follow through with the threat to force us onto Beta.

Fuck Beta.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (1, Flamebait)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about 8 months ago | (#46171335)

The new beta format doesn't make me want to leave Slashdot. Idiots who insist on filling every bloody comment for every bloody story with variations of 'Fuck Beta' make me want to leave Slashdot.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171375)

Sounds like the strategy is working. The less people stay, the better. Then perhaps they'll listen to us.
--
[Fuck Beta]

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171383)

Then PLEASE LEAVE if you can't see the fundamentals at stake here

FUCK SLASHBETA

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171603)

Then PLEASE LEAVE if you can't see the fundamentals at stake here

FUCK SLASHBETA

Mod this up.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171419)

Yeah, please do leave. You'll find million other crappy sites you'll like where nobody's complaining about the horrible design and which have no legacy or culture. It's the spineless morons like you who make possible the abominations like beta. Kindly FUCK (BETA) OFF!

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (0)

aurb (674003) | about 8 months ago | (#46171435)

I'm OK with beta. I almost like beta. And that's what makes me worry. Maybe I'm loosing my nerdiness...

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (0)

kry73n (2742191) | about 8 months ago | (#46171485)

maybe you have been brainwashed to the point where you believe that metro ui and co. are an evolutionary usability improvement and grey text on slightly lighter grey background enhances readability

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (0)

aurb (674003) | about 8 months ago | (#46171587)

Could be. Or maybe it's the larger fonts - easier to read and click at my age :-)

Re:MOVIN' ON UP. (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about 8 months ago | (#46171743)

I don't see the grey on grey you speak of. My only real issue with the beta format so far is the excessive amount of whitespace. Or perhaps I'm just impartial since I tend to spend more time at Ars (where Slashdot seems to pull a large number of their stories) than here.

Edit: Oh, and the lack of auto-fill for the subject of new comments. Almost forgot about that one.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46171697)

Maybe I'm loosing my nerdiness...

You're unleashing your nerdiness? Watch out, world!

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46172355)

Go sit over there with management and marketing, this here is the tech department.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171469)

I assume you are using the classic site to do your posting (as, of course, am I). Otherwise it just hurts too much.

Seriously, what part of the beta exceeds classic in any way?

Re: MOVIN’ ON UP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171821)

Seriously, what part of the beta exceeds classic in any way?

The suck does, so there's that...

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46172399)

I think it's the "snazzyness". It sure uses a lot more modern and edgy technology. Funny enough, it seems that a lot of techs don't seem to like using edgy technology.

And, well, maybe I'm getting old or something, but I have to admit I get the same feeling. Slashdot beta just doesn't sit right with me. Some would say it scrolls smoother, I can only say it feels more sluggish when scrolling. Some would consider the "loading a page when displaying it" beneficial for bandwidth, I just consider it a waste of my time when I sit on a mobile connection that is so-so fast, stable and reliable.

You know, now that I think about it, it feels like the new player on YouTube. You know, the one that loads the video chunk by chunk instead of simply dumping it on your HD for you to view. DASH playback. In theory a big step ahead. In practice, the only thing it did for me was to make it impossible to preload videos when the connection was too bad to stream it in real time. Or to pause and continue a few hours later.

Slashdot beta sure feels like that a bit. In theory, it would probably be a good thing. In fact, due to circumstances, it's far from an improvement.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171615)

The new beta format doesn't make me want to leave Slashdot. Idiots who insist on filling every bloody comment for every bloody story with variations of 'Fuck Beta' make me want to leave Slashdot.

As if we cared about you.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 8 months ago | (#46171753)

Y'know, the funny thing, the thing I distinctly remember about my first encounter with slashdot all those years ago, was the mass off-topic complaints about the then-new version of slashdot.
Moral of the story: Dice, if you want folks to like /.-beta, just make a slashdot-beta 2. :P

Back on topic . . . first post!

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171801)

All replies including and the OP magically go to -1. The admins are now going thru and -1ing at will even tho NO COMMUNITY MODS are actually choosing to see these comments in such a way.

What's the point when 99% of all comments to stories now are everyone venting their disgust. How can you mod -1 to everyone letting you know your shit sucks, Slashbeta.

You constantly say you're sincere and want feedback, well this is the fucking feedback. Your shit redesign smells like what it is... FUCKING SHIT

FUCK SLASHBETA

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about 8 months ago | (#46172273)

I wouldn't be sure about that. If I'd currently had mod points, I would have modded down all the off topic stuff, and I imagine there are plenty of other people with a similar mindset.

Regardless of whether or not the complaints have merit, clicking on a story to read the commentary only to see a sea of people frothing at the mouth over what will eventually be inconsequential stuff. Yes, inconsequential. I've been through several of these Slashdot revamps now, and it's always the same story: new layout introduced, the community loses its shit, it eventually goes live and everybody gets used to it and it's a non-issue.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46172411)

I got Karma to burn. Make my day.

It's not like I need it much longer.

Re:MOVIN’ ON UP. (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 8 months ago | (#46175393)

That's like saying "I don't mind the crime in my neighborhood. If only just everyone else could complain less about it all would be fine."

Ergo, Fuck Beta.

first save classic /. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171311)

live fast die young

Re:first save classic /. (0)

Nartie (1128613) | about 8 months ago | (#46171701)

You can save classic yourself, with noscript on the beta throws up it's hands and tosses you back to classic.

In other news... (5, Informative)

kry73n (2742191) | about 8 months ago | (#46171315)

the slashdot beta sucks

It's a replica. (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 8 months ago | (#46171345)

The machine at Bletchley Park is a working replica, not the original.

the millions of lives (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171403)

lost because the US refused to get involved and try to end the Nazi plans before they just about took over Europe.

I just saying, that the US could have help ended the threat with more effort before the Nazi's had a chance to start there invasions.

Re:the millions of lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171411)

As could have the British, French, Soviets and the German populace themselves. Blaming the Americans is slightly silly.

Re:the millions of lives (-1, Flamebait)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 8 months ago | (#46171449)

Agreed, especially since the Americans weren't critical to the German defeat [only the Japanese defeat in the Pacific].

There would have been no victory without the resou (4, Informative)

qubex (206736) | about 8 months ago | (#46172205)

That’s a totally dubious opinion misstated as fact.

Without American materiel (lend/lease ships, tanks, bomber aircraft) and manpower (D-Day landings, continental fighting, naval convoys) the war effort would have been almost inevitably lost. This does not mean that the UK mightn’t have eked out a long-term stalemate and perhaps even an uneasy truce, but the defeat of Nazi Germany would have been out of the question. What ultimately defeated Germany was not the war on two fronts, but an expensive, resource-intensive war on two fronts that exceeded the country’s ability to regenerate. Without the virtually bottomless reserves of resources provided by the USA, the USSR would have been eventually brought to heel, and the West would have followed suit.

The USA was pivotal.

Re:There would have been no victory without the re (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46172415)

That’s a totally dubious opinion misstated as fact.

Like yours? History gets rewritten too often for me to care about who thinks they're right.

Re: dubious opinion misstated as fact (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 8 months ago | (#46175009)

WW 2 occurred some 70 years ago. Why get all hung up on national pride over something other people did decades ago?

Re:There would have been no victory without the re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46172481)

Well that and the fact that the US exported entire factories to the USSR to bolster their flagging production and forces. It was those transports that allowed diplomatic pouches containing nuclear secrets to migrate to Stalin in short order (Dark Sun : Richard Rhodes - although, imo, his first book which he won the Pulitzer prize - "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" is far superior, Dark Sun is a hell of a peek into the Soviet Nuke program).

Re:There would have been no victory without the re (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46172639)

That’s a totally dubious opinion misstated as fact.

Without American materiel (lend/lease ships, tanks, bomber aircraft) and manpower (D-Day landings, continental fighting, naval convoys) the war effort would have been almost inevitably lost.

Didn't the Americans manage to sink all the tanks we loaned them on D-Day by launching them too far out at sea? My history book says the British were the only ones who managed to get them ashore (along with the materials to build a prefabricated port so they could dock ships there and get the heavy gear on land).

I also thought the beginning of the end of the war was down to the Russians in Stalingrad. The capture of Berlin was termed a 'race' between the Allies and the Russians (because they both wanted to be the first grab the German tech). The allies won by a matter of hours but it was the Russians who broke through the German lines first.

Re:There would have been no victory without the re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46173619)

Without lend lease equipment the Russians would have had trouble winning the war. Most important were millions of trucks. This solved one of the USSRs greatest deficiencies: Being able to supply and resupply mobile forces. Each penetration and encirclement would have been much shallower without them, and the soviets would have required longer to mount another offensive. This would have permitted the Germans to be much more effective in the defense.

The true turning point of the War was the battle of Kurks, in the sense that it was after Kursk that the germans handed the initiative over the the Soviets and spent the rest of war retreating.

It has been said, though I don't recall by whom, that the war was won with Soviet blood paid for by American gold.

Without the heavy pressure placed on the Germans by the eastern front, the invasion of Normandy and Western front would have faced far more opposing forces. If the Soviets were unable to break back into Belorussia, the Germans would have been able to consolidate many more of their holdings and had far more resources at their disposal. Shipping the Soviets vast numbers of Studebaker trucks, Willie Jeeps, boots, uniforms, Air craft, locomotives and rail carse made a big difference. In fact, two thirds of the Red Army trucks were American built.

Re:the millions of lives (4, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46172611)

You can't blame the British, they kept fighting.
The French on the other hand surrendered.

BTW I haven't gone to the Beta site, but it sounds like shit. Has anyone asked Obama? "If you like your Slashdot classic you can keep it"

Re:the millions of lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171517)

That's just millions more who would be here today to suffer through SLASHBETA. Hope knowing this helps your sentiment.

Re:the millions of lives (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171575)

lost because the US refused to get involved and try to end the Nazi plans before they just about took over Europe.

I just saying, that the US could have help ended the threat with more effort before the Nazi's had a chance to start there invasions.

Funny how you anti-American pinkos were saying that America shouldn't have gone into Iraq pre-emptively. I guess the USA just can't win.

Re:the millions of lives (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46172643)

Pre-empting what, exactly?

Re:the millions of lives (2)

rjune (123157) | about 8 months ago | (#46173065)

Why did the US need to get involved? From http://eudocs.lib.byu.edu/inde... [byu.edu]

"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour.
        I believe it is peace for our time...
        Go home and get a nice quiet sleep."

Singling out the US demonstrates a lack of understanding of the historical context.
 

Re:the millions of lives (3, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46173645)

I love ACs who make these inflammatory statements without any knowledge on the subject. The German war machine was allowed to grow because of the complacence of its neighbors. Throughout the Nazi regime before there was any aggression there were treaty violations that none of Germany's neighbors did anything about. Was it up to the US to deal with that? If you have a guy building a war machine in the house next door the time to stop it is when you first see it, not let him build it to see how good it looks in final paint. There was also ample time for the European leaders to see just how effective the German war machine was in the Spanish Civil War, did anybody not see the German Air and Armored divisions not go into Spain in 1936 to support Franco? It was all training folks for Germany, live fire no doubt, but still training and when Germany was finally ready there wasn't much that could stop them except a little strip of ocean. That was also 4 years before the invasion of Poland. When war finally did break out the US did lend its support, in March 1941 the Lend Lease act was passed to provide material support for those fighting Nazi aggression. If that hadn't been enacted, what would the outcome have been in Europe?

Re:It's a replica. (4, Insightful)

RDW (41497) | about 8 months ago | (#46171871)

The machine at Bletchley Park is a working replica, not the original.

Yes, but it's a lovingly crafted completely functional working system that preserves both the spirit and the full capabilities of the original, and the project team has worked very hard to avoid unnecessary deviations from its (highly successful) 20th Century specification. Pretty much the opposite, then, of Slashdot Beta.

Re:It's a replica. (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 months ago | (#46172567)

> Yes, but it's a lovingly crafted completely functional working system that preserves
> both the spirit...

LOL!

"It's based on a true story. It didn't actually happen like this, and the car chases and explosions were added to keep people's interest up during the character development, but essentially it's more or less exactly what happened to Van Gogh".

I agree with you, however, about Slashdot Beta. It's still as sucky as it looked however many months ago they first revealed it. It feels like something somebody knocked up over a few evenings of spare time in a bid to learn as many different web technologies as possible.

Re:It's a replica. Now under attack (1)

folderol (1965326) | about 8 months ago | (#46172691)

See it while you can. If the 'managers' of the Bletchly Park Trust get their way, Colossus and the National Meuseum of Computing will soon be made homeless. Sounds a lot like the /. situation doesn't it?

Re:It's a replica. Now under attack (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46173673)

I watched a BBC News story on this, it's sad that this new Trust is fouling things up with the Computer Museum. I don't see how you can have Bletchly Park without mentioning Colossus and early computing.

FUCK SLASHBETA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171359)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save *BSD from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

If it aint broke, don't fix it (5, Insightful)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | about 8 months ago | (#46171361)

The Nazis would've won if the Allies used Colossus Beta.

Beta Sucks Hilter's Balls.

Re:If it aint broke, don't fix it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171487)

That would be ball, not balls

FUCK BETA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171545)

Slashdot Beta is the favorite of the Nazis, and Cowboy Neal is secretly Cowboy Hitler! It's true!

In other news, BSD is dying, hot grits on Natalie Portman, and GNAA something-something...

Dice just killed Slashdot (5, Insightful)

acid_andy (534219) | about 8 months ago | (#46171389)

Dice have done far worse than kill Slashdot, they've hurt Slashdot and they intent to go on hurting Slashdot. They'll leave it marooned for all eternity in the centre of a dead fanbase ... Buried in whitespace ... Buried in whitespace ... Buried in whitespace.

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171399)

Honestly, if this is the usual level of your comments, we'll gladly see you go.

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171475)

You must be new here and not realize the soulless depravity of the redesign. Speak for your self, please. And kindly fuck off.

F U C K S L A S H B E T A

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (1)

acid_andy (534219) | about 8 months ago | (#46171491)

Thanks for your honesty but I abhor change for its own sake when it throws many of the great features of an old website. I've seen it happen so many times. Selling out to the mobile / tablet form factor with huge headings and everything spaced out and chunky. I don't blame the developers. They're building things to specification and have doubtless worked very hard. Reinventing the wheel for its own sake though when the new wheel is this unpopular - well sorry, I just have to let my frustration be known.

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (3, Informative)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 8 months ago | (#46171675)

Actually I blame the developers. Clearly they are modern "app" developers, as opposed to us old school application developers, from an era when "application" didn't mean a glorified web page drenched in javascript toys.

Any application developer worth anything knows about Model-View-Controller [wikipedia.org] and can separate the underlying data model interaction protocols from the view presented to the user.

There is no excuse whatsoever for the loss of any existing features that are found in classic, nor is there any technical reason whatsoever why there has to be a migration to a single "new" site to keep up with the times. The slashdot website is just a view into the comment and stories database, and there should be many views for everybody to choose their preferred one at any time, including the "beta" one as just one of them. In fact, if slashdot published a reasonable API there would be plenty of low digit users who could whip up a sane interface before breakfast.

What is tablet/phone friendly? (1)

FeriteCore (25122) | about 8 months ago | (#46172285)

One thing that I don't get is how the current wave of web site redesigns are actually, in any way, tablet/smart phone friendly.

On a device with a small display concise and space eficient presentation of information, without excess white space or eye candy, is necessary if you don's want to end up feeling like you are peering at the site through a soda straw. Using large fonts, wide line spacing, and lots of white space just makes a small display effectively smaller.

On a device with a low bandwidth or expensive connection reducing the number of bits that needed to render the page is desirable to get the page to render in a reasonable time and cost. This is another reason to eliminate large, eye candy, images.

On a device that may have limited computing power it is desirable to use those resources efficiently, effectively, and only when necessary to deliver the information content of the site,

And, the one sin Slashdot beta hasn't committed, why should I need an app for something that should just display in a browser if the web presence was properly designed?

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 8 months ago | (#46171647)

If you don't get what his referencing in his post, I'd say you're probably the one who doesn't belong here.

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171707)

You should join me and try some of that red snow the Ex-SLASHDOT BETA user has been raving about. I hear it's to die for.

Re:Dice just killed Slashdot (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 8 months ago | (#46173831)

Sorry about your downmods, but *I* found your Khan-inspired pronouncement of Slashdot's fate awesome! Thanks!

Not a computer (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 8 months ago | (#46171429)

Only, it wasn't a computer in the modern parlance of being general purpose, programmable, and Turling-complete. It was more like an advanced calculator, that only worked for a single job.

Also, Beta sucks.

Re: Not a computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171827)

Wrong. Colossus was completely programmable and turing complete.

Lurk moar.

The only difference to modern computer was that it used thermionic valves instead of ICs.

Re: Not a computer (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about 8 months ago | (#46172433)

No. Colossus was programmable but it wasn't Turing complete.

Re:Not a computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171891)

it wasn't a computer in the modern parlance of being general purpose, programmable, and Turling-complete

Except it was. You know, given that Alan Turing kind of designed the thing.

It wasn't a stored program machine, but no one makes that a requirement for defining a "computer".

Re:Not a computer (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about 8 months ago | (#46172503)

Except it was. You know, given that Alan Turing kind of designed the thing.

No he didn't, it was designed by Tommy Flowers [wikipedia.org] .

Colossus wasn't Turing complete either.

Cryptonomicon (1)

oakbox (414095) | about 8 months ago | (#46171447)

That's just freaky, I just finished re-reading "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson last night and this story pops up.

Probability (1)

qubex (206736) | about 8 months ago | (#46172313)

All your coincidence does is give us a reliable means of estimating how many people out there are reading Cryptonomicon at any given moment in time. It’s not freaky at all. It’s just the consequence of the vast number of humans currently alive.

And if you need any more proof of why Russia's ant (1)

John Allsup (987) | about 8 months ago | (#46171455)

Just look at what the Brit's old-school equivalents led to in how they treated him after he played a critical role in helping the Allies win WW2.

Sorry if this seems off-topic, but this is Alan Turing I'm talking about here, and the two most salient pieces of his life were his maths and his ability to both dream beyond his peers, and his ability to make it absolutely practical where needed, and his sexual orientation. This ability with maths is rare to see, and how the British establishment saw fit to overlook this, punish him for his gayness, and ultimatly drive him to suicide is a deep lesson in just how much of a bunch of arseholes people can be even to the best of us.

Re: And if you need any more proof of why Russia's (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171861)

the two most salient pieces of his life were his maths and his ability to both dream beyond his peers, and his ability to make it absolutely practical where needed, and his sexual orientation.

...with arithmetic skills like yours, it's probably a good thing you have a mathematician as a hero.

Re: And if you need any more proof of why Russia's (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46172207)

Go easy on him, he probably has a fanatical devotion to the Pope.

I'll come in again.

A true precursor (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#46171459)

Colossus, Alan Turing and the geniuses who helped design it, have been key to the development of subsequent fantastic advances in computer technology and marvels that have forever changed the face of the world, such as AOL CDs, Angry Birds and Facebook.

Re:A true precursor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171495)

No one cares about the articles anymore. This is all that's relevant: FUCK SLASHBETA

Bomba kryptologiczna (5, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 8 months ago | (#46171567)

Colossus, Alan Turing and the geniuses who helped design it, have been key to the development of subsequent fantastic advances in computer technology and marvels that have forever changed the face of the world, such as AOL CDs, Angry Birds and Facebook.

Alan Turing was a indeed a colossus but he didn't crack the enigma code. He didn't even lay a lot of of the ground work for designing this machine, it was a team of mathematicians working for Polish military intelligence after Polish and French spooks had gained access various data concerning Enigma that included inspecting a working copy of an enigma machine. Their names were Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Róycki and Henryk Zygalski and they reverse engineered the Enigma based on this material using mathematics and created what they called the 'bomba kryptologiczna'. The famous Colossus was a 'substantial develpment' from this device. What Alan Turing and Co. did was crack the improved enigma machines (still a daunting task) who had been upgraded in 1938-39, but he and and his team stood on the shoulders of those three polish mathematicians. The British are very keen to take sole credit for cracking Enigma but they got a whole helluva lot of help from Poland and France and as a German I'd like it to be crystal clear to the world who exactly it was that kicked our cryptographic ass :-)

Re:Bomba kryptologiczna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171725)

And there is the fact that US didn't capture a German Navy Enigma from a submarine as portrayed by Hollywood.

Sure the Brits owe a lot to the Polish who nicked an enigma but as has been said the advanced machine was a really different beast to crack. Also the German Navy changed their codes at a critical time of the war. Without the people at BP a lot more lives would have been lost, a great number of them US troops on their way to Europe.
My Mother worked there for two years (1943-45). She never said anything about her work until the late 1970's so naturally I won't hear anything said against the people who did that almost impossible job.

Re: Bomba kryptologiczna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171847)

Capturing an Enigma from U110 was real. Have been at Bletchley Park. The museum that is.

Re:Bomba kryptologiczna (3, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 8 months ago | (#46172021)

And there is the fact that US didn't capture a German Navy Enigma from a submarine as portrayed by Hollywood.

Sure the Brits owe a lot to the Polish who nicked an enigma but as has been said the advanced machine was a really different beast to crack. Also the German Navy changed their codes at a critical time of the war. Without the people at BP a lot more lives would have been lost, a great number of them US troops on their way to Europe.
My Mother worked there for two years (1943-45). She never said anything about her work until the late 1970's so naturally I won't hear anything said against the people who did that almost impossible job.

It's been a while since I read about this so I may be shaky on details but I don't think the Poles nicked an Enigma but they did buy one. There were several variants of Enigma divided into two different classes, the commercial and the military units. You could buy a commercial grade unit quite without restrictions so the Poles did that just to get an idea of how it worked. Later on they bribed a Nazi customs official to get access to a military Enigma and inspect it because stealing it would have alerted the Nazis that the Enigma system had been compromised. The French also contributed data and that led to the construction of the 'Bomba'. When the Germans added more rotors to the Enigma in 1938 it massively increased the magnitude of the required decryption effort and the Poles didn't have the resources to construct the requisite machinery. That's where the British became involved.

Re:Bomba kryptologiczna (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 8 months ago | (#46171789)

"The British are very keen to take sole credit for cracking Enigma"

Well, we're not, actually. Any more than we're keen to take the sole credit for winning the Second World War.
It was a team effort.

Re:Bomba kryptologiczna (4, Informative)

Vanders (110092) | about 8 months ago | (#46171921)

The Colossus wasn't used to crack Enigma: Bletchley has simple electro-mechanical machines (Bombes) for that. Colossus was used to crack Lorenze, which was an entirely different cipher. The basis for the software that ran on the Colossus was basically Alan Turings work on cryptanalysis, and of course it was also Turing complete. The actual design however was almost entirely the work of Tommy Flowers; a post office telephone engineer.

Correct. (4, Informative)

qubex (206736) | about 8 months ago | (#46172393)

The Colossus was useless at decrypting Enigma traffic: that was handled by the electronic bombes.

Colossus was constructed to break Lorenz/Tunny traffic: a much more advanced system designed for encrypting teleprinter five-bit Baudot-code teleprinter transmissions. Dilettantes will harp on Tunny’s greater number of rotors, but it was a far more radical departure than might at first appear. As many subsequent stream-ciphers, Tunny XORed cleartext to a cryptostream. Amongst other things, that meant that there was no restriction against a character in the ciphertext being the same as the corresponding character in the cleartext, a flaw which allowed skilled cryptographers to infer what might, conceivably, be contained within a given stretch of text.

Two sets of ‘wheels’ were summed independently to a five-bit cleartext word. One set was advanced on every word and one advanced only if another wheel’s value was !FALSE (this wheel itself advanced on every word). This meant, amongst other things, that sometimes part of the keystream did not increment, and this in turn had a discernible effect upon the statistical distribution of the difference between successive ciphertext words.

Reconstructing the keystream from these distributions is how Tunny was broken, and that is the task that Colossus was designed to automate. (Mumbling about Colossus’ Turing-Completeness is fundamentally ill-posed, as no machine has the infinite memory capacity envisioned by Turing. I will however emphasise that Colossus lacked a stored program facility, a concept that was only developed much later.)

correction (1)

qubex (206736) | about 8 months ago | (#46172417)

I meant electromechanical bombes.

Just to add my 2d worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46173227)

Colossus, Alan Turing and the geniuses who helped design it, have been key to the development of subsequent fantastic advances in computer technology and marvels that have forever changed the face of the world, such as AOL CDs, Angry Birds and Facebook. --- Alan Turing was a indeed a colossus but he didn't crack the enigma code. He didn't even lay a lot of of the ground work for designing this machine, it was a team of mathematicians working for Polish military intelligence after Polish and French spooks had gained access various data concerning Enigma that included inspecting a working copy of an enigma machine.

The OP DIDNT say anything about cracking enigma (or Lorenz or Tunny).

It talked about advances in COMPUTER technology. That was what Turing was interested in. Codebreaking was always a side-show for him. The main thing was building a 'general-purpose' problem-solving machine. And if you study his work you will find that what he was interested in was producing a creation that could 'think'. A mechanical brain, in other words. And we are now moving steadily along that path, but we haven't reached it yet....

Re:Bomba kryptologiczna (1)

lophophore (4087) | about 8 months ago | (#46175687)

Actually, Turing designed an improved "bombe" -- the "Turing Bombe" -- and there are reproductions of those at Bletchley Park, as well as the Colossus.

Note that Colossus was not built to crack Enigma. It was built to crack teleprinter code. The "Lorenz Cipher" -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Beta is terrible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171465)

No seriously, Slashdot Beta is so bad that after coming here daily for 10+ years I will leave if they really do switch over to Beta.

Re:Beta is terrible (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171499)

Oh no!! They going to lose an Anonymous Coward. Quick everyone to the Situation Room!!!!!!!!!!!

Apostrophe Hell (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 8 months ago | (#46171471)

Nazis' not Nazi's

FFS

Re:Apostrophe Hell (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171505)

More like Slashbeta hell

FUCK SLASHBETA

what is actually wrong with a CHOICE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171483)

as in, BETA (currently, goatse.cx is admittedly easier on the eye, but, whatever..)

OR

CLASSIC?

- not that we all know what wouldn't happen eventually, but *forcing* people onto that, fuggedit.

The Guardians at this nonsense at the mo as well now, currently.. ..getting to the stage, only readable site left will be the internet archive.

One week Slashdot boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171513)

Action speaks louder than words guys and gals.. so lets boycott Slashdot for 1 week starting Monday 10th, ending Monday 17th! If you're serious about leaving now is your chance to show your intention. Maybe hurting Dice's pockets will help them listen to their users.

Lets stop this launch dead in its tracks.. spread the word!

Re:One week Slashdot boycott (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171559)

A week won't do anything and silence conveys complacency. I will fucking load my tor browser and bitch and moan endlessly and when the day comes that there is only Slashbeta and no more Slashdot - I will never be back again.

FUCK SLASHBETA

Kill Beta (1)

SillyPerson (920121) | about 8 months ago | (#46171655)

The one additional value that slashdot can provide is the quality of the discussions. If they do away with it I will leave.

Fuck The Beta (2)

The Rickster (84119) | about 8 months ago | (#46171709)

Fuck The Beta

An amazing piece of engineering...also FUCK BETA (3, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 8 months ago | (#46171741)

This may look a little contrived, but the new management team at Bletchley Park also seem to wish to "improve" things by making them worse.
For example, they recently sacked a long-time volunteer guide because he insisted on showing guests the nearby National Museum of Computing, (which is where the Colossus is replica is actually housed).

http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk]

Oh, and double fuck beta....been here for decades, and whilst I'm all for progress the classic site never struck me as broken, (apart from special character support - is that fixed in "beta"? )
The last I heard progress meant IMPROVEMENT. Listening DICE?

Re:An amazing piece of engineering...also FUCK BET (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 8 months ago | (#46174669)

It seems the volunteer in question was taking people visiting Bletchley Park into the National Museum of Computing next door and acting as a tour guide there rather than working as a guide solely in Bletchley Park. He wasn't employed as a guide by the NMoC and I'm not even sure he or the tour groups he was escorting were paying entry fees to get into the museum; the two separate operations share the site and the buildings and there is no clear physical distinction between the two although the Bletchley Park team are supposedly planning to erect a fence soon).

Re:An amazing piece of engineering...also FUCK BET (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46176041)

"In response to user demands for improvement, Dice is proud to announce that it will partner with Disqus for comments on it's popular Slashdot tech news site."

Careful what you ask for, chief.

Credit at last (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 8 months ago | (#46171811)

Nice to see Tommy Flowers get some credit at last but surprised there's no mention of Turing.

Haven't seen the Beta so can't comment.

No to Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46171813)

Fuck Beta.

Have you tried it on a mobile device? It it b0rken.

But...but...spying is evil!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46172913)

We've been reading a dozen articles a day (and posts in most of the others) that spying is inexcusable. It's a sad thing that Snowden didn't work in Bletchley Park during WWII, he would have exposed what those evil Brits were up to so the peace loving Nazis could go about their lives.

This is impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46173027)

As we all know, NASA invented the microwave oven as well as the computer. I even doubt such a thing as WWII ever happened, how could we have developed all that technology back then? We didn't even have a satellite yet.

The Forbin Project? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 8 months ago | (#46173203)

Did Mr. Forbin ever fall in love with Colossus?

Re:The Forbin Project? (1)

buravirgil (137856) | about 8 months ago | (#46175345)

Never!

obligatory Beta snark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46175885)

That's fine, but we all know what Bletchley Park ***BETA*** really needs is condos and a new car park, so crate up all that old iron and ship it off to China or somewhere for recycling.

not bitter, me. I just watched old wartime reels of the Packard plant in Detroit, and then saw a video of it today.

The horror...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>