Alan Turing: Exhibition offers rare glimpse of the man behind the enigma

Turing contributed to a major breakthrough in the Allies' ability to crack Nazi codes when he designed the electromechanical bombe machine.

The machine was devised to crack Enigma ciphers, which was used by the German army, navy and air force to protect their communications.

Every day the German military would change the settings used to encrypt messages and each day the Bletchley codebreakers were engaged in a race against time to crack the code.

To help with the decryption, Turing designed the bombe in 1939, a rebuilt version of which can be seen above. Each bombe was built to work as if it were several Enigma enciphering machines wired together and could narrow down the settings used to encrypt each message far more quickly than a human. By the end of the war, more than 200 of the machines were being used in the UK to crack codes.

Photo: Nick Heath/TechRepublic


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.