After Hours

Sixty years on, Colossus cracks codes again

The Mark II Colossus was reinstated at the Bletchley Park to challenge modern day PC technology in a Cipher Challenge. The project to rebuild the Colossus has taken more than a decade.

The Mark II Colossus was reinstated at the Bletchley Park to challenge modern day PC technology in a Cipher Challenge. The project to rebuild the Colossus has taken more than a decade.

An excerpt from BBC:

The re-built Colossus will be put to work on intercepted radio messages transmitted by radio amateurs in Paderborn, Germany that have been scrambled using a Lorenz SZ42 machine - as used by the German high command in wartime.

The Colossus was instrumental in the cracking of German codes that resulted in the World War II ending a good 18 months earlier.

An excerpt from Guardian:

The team which recreated it, working with the late Tommy Flowers, the engineer who built the first Colossus, was as eccentric as the original team. John Wetter, a retired BT engineer, says the thousands of hours he put into the project beat trailing around the supermarket after his wife. Andy Clark, director of the infant National Museum of Computing, is a professional forensic cryptographer. Sale, after a career in the RAF, worked for MI5 with Peter Wright of Spycatcher fame, before becoming a computer consultant.

News.com has several photos of the Colossus and the BBC also has an article on its working.

It's interesting to note that the Colossus could still be up for the challenge, though modern technology did finally win the cipher contest, thanks to Joachim Schüth, from Bonn, Germany (ZDNet).