Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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Jeff Prosise's Silverlight Enigma Simulation

November 17, 2008
New York, N.Y.

During the Second World War, the German military used a device called the Enigma to encrypt communications. Althugh the Enigma was conceptually rather simple, messages encoded on it were devilishly difficult to decrypt. A trio of Polish mathematicians made some headway, and then considerable progress was made at Bletchley Park — the focal point of Great Britain's code-breaking activities during World War II — particularly under the tutelage of Alan Turing (1912 – 1954).

My friend Jeff Prosise recently wrote a very attrictive Enigma simulator in Silverlight. I suspect that almost everyone who reads my blog also reads the Wintellect Wintellog, but if not, here are Jeff's two entries describing his program:

Or you can just skip to the Silverlight program:

I don't know how much my recent book on Alan Turing inspired Jeff to create his Enigma simulator. Perhaps a little.

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“Petzold will be a stalwart companion to any reader who undertakes to read Turing's classic with his aid. The Annotated Turing will also be quite enjoyable to a more casual reader who chooses to dip into various parts of the text.” — Martin Davis in American Scientist


But at beginning of the Second World War, the trio of Polish mathematicians migrate to Bletchley Park, so they was working as usual on next improved versions of Enigma.

The Enigma was used by the German military before the Second World War and messages was decrypted by the same polish military office based on the same trio of Polish mathematicians - so not only "some headway was made" but complete working decrypting/encrypting algorithms and even copy of the German military Enigma device was developed, based on both: on the invented algorithms (by the trio) and on business version (much simpler) available on free market. :)

— Tadeusz, Tue, 18 Nov 2008 04:30:37 -0500 (EST)

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