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Dr.

Alan Turings
Decoding Machine
By Christine Kotschwar
Alan Turings Decoding Machine.

Thesis: Without Alan Turings decoding Machine, knowledge, and experiences the allies

wouldnt have won WWII.

I. Introduction During WWII, the Germans used a coding system, called Enigma, to

communicate tactics and plans throughout the Military.


II. Knowledge and Experiences
a. Knowledge
b. Experiences
III. The Decoding Machine
a. Introduction of his Machine
b. How the Machine Works
IV. Winning the War Quickly
a. Solving the Enigma
b. Fooling the Germans
V. Conclusion
During WWII, the Germans used a coding system, called Enigma, to communicate tactics

and plans throughout the Military. Tasked with decoding this seemingly impossible code, Alan

Turing, who was a highly intellectual man, focused on studying Math and cryptanalysis. When

he first received this inconceivable set of cryptograms, Turing proposed a machine that could

decipher encrypted German messages in just a matter of hours. Without Alan Turings decoding

Machine, knowledge, and experiences the allies wouldnt have won WWII.

As you may not know, Alan Turing was a very knowledgeable man with many

experiences in the fields of cryptology (the study of codes and how to solve them), math, and

science. Contrary to common belief, he knew very limited German; so, when he was tasked with

decoding the German encrypted messages it seemed nearly impossible that he would be able to

complete this task. From a young age, Turing had liked solving puzzles and decoding messages.

He graduated from Cambridge in 1934 after studying mathematics. During his time at

Cambridge he proposed the idea of a machine that could perform simple decoding tasks. After

studying at Cambridge, Alan Turing went on to study at Princeton to gain his Ph-D in 1938.

Then, he returned to Cambridge, and started working part-time for the Government Code and

Cypher School.

Dr. Turings experiences with math and cryptology were very helpful in solving this

impossible code. According to the Biography.com Editors, Turing made 5 major advances in the

field of cryptanalysis, he held high-ranking positions in the field mathematics, and is most

recognized for creating the first computer which started the Computer Age. Dr. Turing was

often thought of as a very intellectual man, his research into artificial intelligence took us leaps

forward in the technology industry. After the war, he wrote several papers about AI and also

created a test called The Imitation Game which was designed to assess if something was
machine or human. Dr. Turing had hoped he could make a machine that had the ability to think

like a human, and solve simple problems.

Alan Turing first introduced the idea of his decoding machine in 1938 while studying for

his Ph.D. at Princeton. Alan Turing published the paper, On Computable Numbers, with an

application to the Entscheidungsproblem, which described a theoretical machine that had the

ability to solve any problem that could be described with simple instructions encoded on a paper

tape. James Grime stated that the Turing Machines had different tasks they were able to

complete; for instance, one machine could calculate square roots while the other would be able to

solve difficult puzzles. Alan Turing later suggested that you could build a single Universal

machine that performed all the same tasks as the Turing Machines and could solve any problem.

This machine would subsequently be known as The Bombe Machine and would shorten the

war by at least two years as well as help the allies win WWII.

The German enigma was arguably the hardest code ever to be invented by the human

race. This impossible code changed every 24 hours and had over 158 million million million

possible combinations of settings that it could have been set to. The hardest struggle for the

decoders working on deciphering the enigma was that the code changed every 24 hours, meaning

that they would have to think of some way to check all 158 million million million settings in

one day. According to Crookes, Alan Turing had a major idea, he thought about a machine that

could help him decipher as man codes as possible and at first, everyone was skeptical about his

major idea. But in 1940, Alan Turing created the Bombe Machine with the help of Gordon

Welchman and George Boole. But how did this machine work? Time magazine explained that

the machine was composed of on and off switches, if the switch was open it would be a zero and

if it was closed it would be a one. Turing explained that in the decimal system each digit read
right to left is understood to be multiplied by a higher power of ten. So, the number 4932 would

be read as 2x1+3x10+9x100+4x1000. Dr. Turing used this information to set up a base function

for his machine. The machine took a lot of money and time to build, and a lot of the high

officials didnt want Turing to put in the time or money into making such a device.

At first, Turings Machine took more time than they had to decipher one message. But

soon, Turing figured out that he needed to know base words to put in the machine for it to be

able to decrypt the code in the 24-hour time limit. These words were words that would always be

in the messages, for instance in the movie The Imitation Game they figured out that every day

the same message at 6:00 am would have the words weather, Hail, and Hitler. They would plug

these words into the machine and when the Bombe would stop running they knew they had

solved the code. With the completion of solving the once impossible code, the allies had a trick

up their sleeves.

The British Allies figured out a tactic to make sure the Germans didnt know that they

had solved the code. They would send false messages to German U-boats after deciphering the

original ones. With the help of Alan Turing and the Bombe Machine, the allies fooled the

Germans and it wasnt until after the war they discovered that the enigma had been broken.

When the war ended everyone was wondered how the allies couldve possibly won the war.

Shortening the war by two years was a long and difficult process for Turing and his team, but the

breaking of the German Enigma was one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of

technology and launched the world of computers.

Sadly, in 1952 Alan Turing was arrested for being a homosexual as it was illegal at the

time. He lost all of his security clearance and had to get testosterone shots every month, resulting

in him killing himself by cyanide poisoning. Luckily, in 2013 Dr. Turing received a royal pardon
by the queen of England and is now still recognized as one of the greatest minds of the 20th

century. Without Alan Turings decoding Machine, knowledge, and experiences the allies

wouldnt have won WWII.


Works Cited

Biography.com Editors. Alan Turing.Biography.com (21 October, 2016)

<http://www.biography.com/people/alan-turing-9512017> (11 April, 2017).

Crooks, David. The Life of Doctor Alan Turing. Micro Mart. (2014).

James Grime. What did Alan Turing Do for us? Enriching Mathematics. (February 2012).

<https://nrich.maths.org/8050> (May 1, 2017).

The Imitation Game. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly. Director: Morten

Tyldum. Vidio-Af DVD. (2015).

Time Magazine, The Computer Society. (1978).