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Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
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Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
Computer pioneer Alan Turing famously broke Nazi Germany's Enigma code during the 2nd
World War. The code had been believed to be unbreakable, as the cipher changed continuously.
Historians say the cracking of the code may have helped shorten the war by at least two years,
potentially saving millions of lives.

He worked at the secret Bletchley Park code-breaking centre, where he helped crack Enigma by
creating the "Turing bombe", a forerunner of modern computers. He also developed the "Turing
Test" to measure artificial intelligence.

In 1952, Turing was prosecuted over his relationship with a man in Manchester and given a
a choice between imprisonment, or with probation and the condition that he undergo female
hormone treatment, which at the time was used as a form of chemical castration. He reluctantly
opted for the latter.

His conviction led to the removal of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to
work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

He (allegedly) committed suicide—by eating a cyanide-laced apple—in 1954, at the age of 41.

Turing has been honoured with his image on the UK's newly released 50-pound polymer bank-note.

[Image: TELEMMGLPICT000203850970_trans_NvBQzQNjv...mwidth=450]

I was so pleased to see this, as I had read the history of this incredibly gifted computer scientist,
cryptanalyst and mathematician, and also knew of the absolutely reprehensible way he'd been
treated by the British government of the time—particularly considering his involvement in its war
effort.  Turing's name invariably evokes in me a sense of anger, sadness, and discomfiture.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#2

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
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#3

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
While Turing was brilliant and deserves this honor, without the work of Polish intelligence I don't think Enigma would have been broken. They built working copies of the Enigma machine by mathematically deducing its operations, and gave one each to France and Britain in 1939.

This is not to bedim any of Turing's many achievements (which included solving updated versions of Enigma later in the war) and sheer brilliance, but giving just credit where it's due.
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#4

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
I might get myself one of these banknotes & put a frame around it. Turing has always been a hero of mine. His journals & early writings on AI are fascinating. Shy


Still ... I wish those in power at the time, hadn't been so uptight, shortsighted, & ignorant. Uh ... that goes for now, as well. Dodgy
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#5

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-26-2021, 03:32 PM)Kim Wrote: Still ... I wish those in power at the time, hadn't been so uptight, shortsighted, & ignorant.  Uh ... that goes for now, as well.   Dodgy

It goes to show how bigotry can and does stifle human advancement. We'll never know what other brilliant ideas or creations Turing would have conceived ... all because of bigotry.
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#6

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
Can't think of the name of the movie, but it was damn good, with Benedict Cumberbatch lead role as Turing.
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#7

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
The Imitation Game. It could have done with editing down a bit.
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#8

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-27-2021, 03:14 AM)Inkubus Wrote: The Imitation Game. It could have done with editing down a bit.

In the sense that it was too emotional or just too long?  It seemed like there were some parts that took me out of reality and were kind of "dramatic and weepy moment here" type scenes.
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#9

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-27-2021, 03:18 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
(03-27-2021, 03:14 AM)Inkubus Wrote: The Imitation Game. It could have done with editing down a bit.

In the sense that it was too emotional or just too long?  It seemed like there were some parts that took me out of reality and were kind of "dramatic and weepy moment here" type scenes.

I think the story is so familiar that the almost two hour run time was a big ask unless the director had something new to add, and I don't think he did. Fine performances but oh so predictable.
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Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
They put a love story into the sinking of the Titanic too ... because that wasn't dramatic enough.
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#11

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-26-2021, 03:09 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: While Turing was brilliant and deserves this honor, without the work of Polish intelligence I don't think Enigma would have been broken. They built working copies of the Enigma machine by mathematically deducing its operations, and gave one each to France and Britain in 1939.

Marian Rejewski, along with two collegues laid out the groundworks for cracking it already in 1932. The Germans used the machine for a very long time, constantly improving it. The second step was bringing up and capturing U559 in 1942, with an intact machine of the latest generation, and the associated codes.
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#12

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-27-2021, 03:14 AM)Inkubus Wrote: The Imitation Game. It could have done with editing down a bit.

There was also a TV film entitled Breaking the Code starring the famous gay actor Sir Derek Jacobi. The ending was truly heartbreaking.

Breaking the Code (film) - Wikipedia
“I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” (Etienne De Grellet)
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#13

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-27-2021, 09:08 AM)abaris Wrote:
(03-26-2021, 03:09 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: While Turing was brilliant and deserves this honor, without the work of Polish intelligence I don't think Enigma would have been broken. They built working copies of the Enigma machine by mathematically deducing its operations, and gave one each to France and Britain in 1939.

Marian Rejewski, along with two collegues laid out the groundworks for cracking it already in 1932. The Germans used the machine for a very long time, constantly improving it. The second step was bringing up and capturing U559 in 1942, with an intact machine of the latest generation, and the associated codes.

That's right. The Brits also captured U-110 in 1941, and the weather ship Lauenberg that same year.

Anyone interested in in-depth reading on the subject should check out Seizing the Enigma from David Kahn.
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#14

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
IIRC one mistake the Germans made was ending each message with "Heil Hitler", which resulted in the same coded ending to most messages. Turing guessed what the closing would be and that was an important clue to reverse-engineering the cypher.
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#15

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-28-2021, 02:11 AM)mordant Wrote: IIRC one mistake the Germans made was ending each message with "Heil Hitler", which resulted in the same coded ending to most messages. Turing guessed what the closing would be and that was an important clue to reverse-engineering the cypher.

You are mistaken, I'm afraid. While they may or may not have used that salutation, the rotors were changed on a daily basis, along with the jacked connections, which with ten plugs, would provide over one hundred billion possibilities for any given message before repeating, statistically. Knowing the order of the rotors, and which types were in use on a given day, would reduce that repetition index to about six million.

But because the rotors advanced sequentially with each keystroke (either one, two, or all three depending on rotor settings) letters only repeated very rarely, and on a seemingly-random basis. "Heil Hitler" at the front of the message would get enciphered differently than the same salutation at the end.

Here's an example from an online Engima emulator:

[Image: LWnMZB5.png]
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#16

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-28-2021, 02:11 AM)mordant Wrote: IIRC one mistake the Germans made was ending each message with "Heil Hitler", which resulted in the same coded ending to most messages. Turing guessed what the closing would be and that was an important clue to reverse-engineering the cypher.

They didn't do that with military messages. They were short, to the point and without salutations. Apart from what Thump already said. Also, to keep messages as short as possible was mandatory. Even if the contents couldn't be decyphered, a radio signal was a clear pointer to the location of the vessel sending it. Lütjens made the mistake of sending a long status report to headquarters, after sinking the Hood. The british navy being able to home in on that signal was one of the reasons why they rediscovered the Bismarck.

(03-28-2021, 03:32 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: But because the rotors advanced sequentially with each keystroke (either one, two, or all three depending on rotor settings) letters only repeated very rarely, and on a seemingly-random basis. "Heil Hitler" at the front of the message would get enciphered differently than the same salutation at the end.

The machines used during the war already had four rotors. That's why it was that important to bring up these subs. Intact codebooks were the key to decypher the messages.
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#17

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-28-2021, 04:52 PM)abaris Wrote: The machines used during the war already had four rotors. That's why it was that important to bring up these subs. Intact codebooks were the key to decypher the messages.

Indeed, introduced in 1942. Prior to that they had three.
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#18

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(03-28-2021, 03:32 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(03-28-2021, 02:11 AM)mordant Wrote: IIRC one mistake the Germans made was ending each message with "Heil Hitler", which resulted in the same coded ending to most messages. Turing guessed what the closing would be and that was an important clue to reverse-engineering the cypher.

You are mistaken, I'm afraid. While they may or may not have used that salutation, the rotors were changed on a daily basis, along with the jacked connections, which with ten plugs, would provide over one hundred billion possibilities for any given message before repeating, statistically. Knowing the order of the rotors, and which types were in use on a given day, would reduce that repetition index to about six million.

But because the rotors advanced sequentially with each keystroke (either one, two, or all three depending on rotor settings) letters only repeated very rarely, and on a seemingly-random basis. "Heil Hitler" at the front of the message would get enciphered differently than the same salutation at the end.

Here's an example from an online Engima emulator:

[Image: LWnMZB5.png]
It was a plot point in The Imitation Game but I confess I don't recall the exact context, beyond that the heavily mechanical, almost Babbage-like computer at Bletchley was way too slow to go through all the daily mathematical possibilities until they found ways to narrow it down. One of them had to do with the Heil Hitler thing. Maybe it was simply made up, IDK.

According to the following post on Quora, the Heil Hitler thing was probably a bit of legend, but that habitual formatting of messages did create opportunities to exploit.

https://www.quora.com/Did-the-inclusion-...nigma-code
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#19

Alan Turing Honoured... At Last.
(04-02-2021, 10:54 PM)mordant Wrote:
(03-28-2021, 03:32 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(03-28-2021, 02:11 AM)mordant Wrote: IIRC one mistake the Germans made was ending each message with "Heil Hitler", which resulted in the same coded ending to most messages. Turing guessed what the closing would be and that was an important clue to reverse-engineering the cypher.

You are mistaken, I'm afraid. While they may or may not have used that salutation, the rotors were changed on a daily basis, along with the jacked connections, which with ten plugs, would provide over one hundred billion possibilities for any given message before repeating, statistically. Knowing the order of the rotors, and which types were in use on a given day, would reduce that repetition index to about six million.

But because the rotors advanced sequentially with each keystroke (either one, two, or all three depending on rotor settings) letters only repeated very rarely, and on a seemingly-random basis. "Heil Hitler" at the front of the message would get enciphered differently than the same salutation at the end.

Here's an example from an online Engima emulator:

[Image: LWnMZB5.png]
It was a plot point in The Imitation Game but I confess I don't recall the exact context, beyond that the heavily mechanical, almost Babbage-like computer at Bletchley was way too slow to go through all the daily mathematical possibilities until they found ways to narrow it down. One of them had to do with the Heil Hitler thing. Maybe it was simply made up, IDK.

According to the following post on Quora, the Heil Hitler thing was probably a bit of legend, but that habitual formatting of messages did create opportunities to exploit.

https://www.quora.com/Did-the-inclusion-...nigma-code

As noted above, even the time it took to send a message was important. The longer the signal, the better the radio-triangulation that informed DF tracking of subs. I know of a few messages with "Heil Hitler" at one or the other end, but it was not an everyday practice.
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