Home > In the News > The highly productive habits of Alan Turing The highly productive habits of Alan Turing Thom Holwerda 2012-06-18 In the News 4 Comments Alan Turing, 1936: “It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence.” Ars Technica celebrates one of the greatest computer scientists of all time, who would’ve turned 100 years old this week. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 4 Comments 2012-06-19 5:50 am rexstuff This sentence made me do a double-take: “That single espionage victory gave the United States control of the Atlantic shipping lanes…” Really? The US gained control of the Atlantic shipping lanes? I guess that’s not really inaccurate, just a bit of a… limited… way of seeing things. 2012-06-19 6:53 am unclefester The US Navy also captured an Enigma machine from a German U-Boat… according to Hollywood. 2012-06-19 3:47 pm zima And of course barely any mention of Polish mathematicians. Nothing really about how they were routinely decrypting Enigma transmissions for better part of a decade. “The first big breakthrough came when” the Poles shared their experience and equipment (and, well, the mathematicians) with Western Allies at the outbreak of WW2 …or maybe when the spy Hans-Thilo Schmidt sold Enigma information to the French in the early 30s, which subsequently found their way to British and Polish cryptologists (but only the latter seemed to succeed with cracking it, at that point) Would Turing and his team be able to brake Enigma by themselves without those earlier efforts? Most likely. But it could have took them a bit too long time, as far N Atlantic battlefield was concerned… There’s “the Nazis had no idea the British were decoding their messages” in the yt video in the article …seems that poptech authors and audiences don’t have that much better idea about who was decoding what ;p Oh well, I guess the long post-WW2 period of secrecy (easier to sell “unbreakable” surplus Enigmas to new, small states), plus “staged” and inconsistent across countries declassification (or even… because the original Enigma-breaking place was now almost-adversaries?), favoured promulgation of myths. 2012-06-19 10:55 am M.Onty I guess that’s not really inaccurate, just a bit of a… limited… way of seeing things. Right, especially as the Royal Navy was the bigger of the two fleets at the time, and both took and inflicted the brunt of the casualties from and on the U-Boats.