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9th March 2015

Maths and Computing students visited Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes in February. 

Computers Have Progressed

Computers Have Progressed

It is a huge estate that was used as a site for cracking the German Ciphers in World War 2, utilizing the brightest minds that Britain had to offer at the time. We were given a tour and learnt many things to do with the history of the estate.

We were told about the machine that Nazis used in WW2 to encrypt the messages they sent to each other - the Enigma Cipher - it had an unreal number of combinations, the way Germans used it there were 150,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible 

combinations but the number of theoretical combinations dwarfs this figure, with over 3×〖10〗^114 (3 with 114 zeros after it) - this machine had more possible states than there are atoms in the universe! After the tour we moved onto the National Museum of Computing. We were given a presentation about the museum then we were guided to the WITCH, the world’s oldest working computer.

We were shown how it worked in detail. This really emphasised how much we’ve progressed as it is the size of an average bedroom and had the equivalent memory of about 3Kb, and the computing power scaled accordingly. Next we were given a tour of the museum and a history of computers, including the rebuild of the world’s first computer - “The Collossus”. Article by student: Milosz Calus.