I went to a lecture by Dr. Mark Baldwin yesterday on the Enigma encryption machine used by Germany during World War 2 and the work of Bletchley Park in breaking the Enigma codes. The successful breaking of the codes has been stated as having shortened the war by around two years.
If you are not familiar with the Enigma encryption machines, they used a combination of rotors which encrypted and decrypted letters, had 26 keys for data entry, illuminated letters to provide the output and used a number of plugs which could further strengthen the encryption.
What fascinated me were a number of common factors which provide lessons that are still very relevant today:
- The balance of complexity and simplicity
- Development of process
- Overcoming the impossible Read the rest of this entry »