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Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-breaking Computers

Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-breaking Computers

Paperback

By (author) B. Jack Copeland

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 232mm x 40mm | 762g
  • Publication date: 30 April 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199578141
  • ISBN 13: 9780199578146
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: Various line drawings and 16pp black and white plate section
  • Sales rank: 98,951

Product description

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 only became possible due to the 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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Author information

Jack Copeland is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing, and has been studying the history of Bletchley Park since 1992. He is a contributor to Scientific American and his previous publications include Artificial Intelligence, (Blackwell, 1993), Logic and Reality (OUP, 1996), Turing's Machines (OUP, forthcoming), The Essential Turing (OUP, 2004), and Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine (OUP, 2005).

Review quote

Copeland's book is a masterpiece. George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral Review from previous edition Copeland and other contributors have rightly done Flowers and the Tunny code-breakers proud An engaging book that will be essential reading for historians of twentieth-century technology and warfare. Nature formidably detailed Guardian compelling compilation New Scientist

Table of contents

1. A Brief History of Cryptography from Caesar to Bletchley Park ; 2. How It Began: Bletchley Park Goes to War ; 3. The German Tunny Machine ; 4. Colossus, Codebreaking, and the Digital Age ; 5. Machine Against Machine ; 6. D-Day at Bletchley Park ; 7. Intercept! ; 8. Colossus ; 9. Colossus and the Rise of the Modern Computer ; 10. The PC-User's Guide to Colossus ; 11. Of Men and Machines ; 12. The Colossus Rebuild ; 13. Mr Newman's Section ; 14. Max Newman-Mathematician, Codebreaker and Computer Pioneer ; 15. Living with Fish: Breaking Tunny in the Newmanry and the Testery ; 16. From Hut 8 to the Newmanry ; 17. Codebreaking and Colossus ; 18. Major Tester's Section ; 19. Setter and Breaker ; 20. An ATS Girl in the Testery ; 21. The Testery and the Breaking of Fish ; 22. Dollis Hill at War ; 23. The British Tunny Machine ; 24. How Colossus was Built and Operated-One of Its Engineers Reveals Its Secrets ; 25. Bletchley Park's Sturgeon-The Fish That Laid No Eggs ; 26. Geheimschreiber Traffic and Swedish Wartime Intelligence ; A1 Timeline: The Breaking of Tunny ; A2 The Teleprinter Alphabet ; A3 The Tunny Addition Square ; A4 My Work at Bletchley Park ; A5 The Tiltman Break ; A6 Turingery ; A7 Dc-Method ; A8 Newman's Theorem ; A9 Rectangling ; A10 The Motor Wheels and Limitations ; A11 Motorless Tunny ; A12 Origin of the Fish Cypher Machines