“Turing @ War: Alan Turing at Bletchley Park”
7:00 PM, Sept. 27. Room E-117, Science-Mathematics Center
Alan Mathison Turing (1912 – 1954) is considered the founder of modern computer science and the most influential mathematician involved in the breaking of the German Enigma cipher machine by the British during World War II. This talk will explain the Enigma and walk us through Turing’s work at the Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park during the war. Turing was among the first group of mathematicians recruited for cryptology work by the British government in 1939. He was put in charge of breaking the German Naval Enigma cipher machines and helping to preserve Britain’s lifeline in the Atlantic. Turing’s analysis and method of breaking the Naval Enigma and his design of the electromechanical “bombe” machines that did the work of finding Enigma keys was one of the high points of the work done at Bletchley Park. Turing went on to consult with the Americans on Enigma and on speech cryptographic machines and to contribute to the design of the Colossus computer that helped break the German Lorenz cipher machine that was used for all top-level German military communications. By the end of the war Turing was turning his thoughts back to Cambridge and to his next project “building a brain.”
Sponsored by the Iowa-Illinois Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society.