May 14, 2008
Oh, boy do you owe it to yourself to give this a read: Tunny, Colossus and Ada: Keeping an Open Mind .
It's a great story of a contest centered on the rebuilding of the Colossus Mark 2 codebreaking machine used by the Bletchley Park boffins. To celebrate, the British National Museum of Computing issued a challenge: They would transmit a signal encoded with an original WWII German cipher, and then receive and decrypt it with the Colossus. Anyone who could receive and decrypt it faster would win the contest.
The winner of the contest, Joachim Schüeth, learned along the way that we all can be limited by calcified thinking about languages, and that it's best to abandon your preconceptions.
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