Alan Turing

Alan Turing was an English wartime code-breaker

Alan Turing

About Alan Turing.

Alan Turing was born on 23 June, 1912, in London. His father was in the Indian Civil Service and Turing's parents lived in India until his father's retirement in 1926. Turing and his brother stayed with friends and relatives in England. Turing studied mathematics at Cambridge University, and subsequently taught there, working in the burgeoning world of quantum mechanics. It was at Cambridge that he developed the proof which states that automatic computation cannot solve all mathematical problems. This concept, also known as the Turing machine, is considered the basis for the modern theory of computation.

Code Breaking

Code- and cipher-breaking have been in operation for centuries. However, cryptanalysis – the art of deciphering encoded messages – took on a new importance during WW2 as British boffins strived to reveal the true meaning of encrypted German military messages.

Enigma Machine

Enigma allowed an operator to type in a message, then scramble it by using three to five notched wheels, or rotors, which displayed different letters of the alphabet. The receiver needed to know the exact settings of these rotors in order to reconstitute the coded text. Over the years the basic machine became more complicated as German code experts added plugs with electronic circuits.