Colossus: The First Electronic Computer: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-breaking Computers
B. Jack Copeland
OUP Oxford, Feb 23, 2006 - Computers - 462 pages
At last - the secrets of Bletchley Park's powerful codebreaking computers. This is a history of Colossus, the world's first fully-functioning electronic digital computer. Colossus was used during the Second World War at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where it played an invaluable role cracking enemy codes. Until very recently, much about the Colossus machine was shrouded in secrecy, largely because the codes that were employed remained in use by the British security services until a short time ago. This book has only become possible due to the recent declassification in the US of wartime documents. With an introductory essay on cryptography and the history of code-breaking by Simon Singh, this book reveals the workings of Colossus and the extraordinary staff at Bletchley Park through personal accounts by those who lived and worked with the computer. Among them is the testimony of Thomas Flowers, who was the architect of Colossus and whose personal account, written shortly before he died, is published here for the first time. Other essays consider the historical importance of this remarkable machine, and its impact on the generations of computing technology that followed.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
A very rich history of WW2 Codebreaking genii and their machines. Not an easy subject for most laymen but well worth slugging through to the very end. The book is a compendium written by a sizeable panel comprising for the most part the original codebreakers and their electronic engineering inventors. The appendices(12) are well worth penetrating. A mathmetician's delight if you are into statistics, linear algebra, linquistics and prime numbers. There is thankfully a good level of repetition as each author contributes his/her account of the methods employed. Enigma was but the first of the code breaker triumphs at Bletchley Park. The "Lorentz" machine is the main fish in this book and was known then as the "Tunnny Machine" The solution techniques to solve the encryption are well explored and the necessity for the Colossi machines is well established. A most interesting account is given of the daily lives as experienced within a country engaged to save its skin under very bleak and daunting conditions of total war. Clearly war is the cradleof invention and WW2 clearly propelled the west into the computer age that we take for granted in our lives today. This is a book that supports the belief thet victory was most improbable without the Colossi code breaking equipment first coming on-line. More detail on the value of the information garnered will need a separate volume yet to be written.
Review: Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking ComputersUser Review - Goodreads
A good balance between personal stories en technical details. After reading other books about Bletchley Park it looked like all was done there was decrypting Enigma, this books shows otherwise.