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'(OT) Re: Mark1 programming challenge'
1998\02\10@031512 by Russell McMahon

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I suspect your enthusiasm for the exploits of the USA in WW2
may be a little coloured by your nationality Myke :-). (Of
course, as Carl Sagan was occasionally wont to say, I could
be wrong). {I assume that you are a genuine US of A ite}.

I have read a number of articles on the Bletchley Park
efforts including a recent one which appeared in several
magazines by someone who claimed to have been closely
involved in some capacity with the original code breaking
effort. If I find the article I'll send you the reference.

As I recall the writer was, personally, the person who had
written code for a Pentium to try to equal the speed of the
original equipment, and had failed. If we presume
(dangerously :-)) that he was competent at coding and had
used a decent compiler, the explanation is probably based on
the parallel and specialised nature of the task. If this is
the reason then there is little doubt that a solution based
on programmable array logic custom tailored to the problem,
would easily beat the original equipment. I think that the
original used thyratrons clocked at under 100 KHz so it
would have to have had some special advantage (like massive
parallelism) to compete with a Pentium. Certainly, the
achievement was written up very sensationally in some
magazines - along the lines of "Secret WW2 equipment had
processing power in advance of modern pentiums" etc but the
actual claim was not stated in urban folklore terms.

The writer certainly didn't seem to think that the original
decoding effort was US based but I'm sure he also could be
wrong :-).

There were 2 different decoding efforts, the enigma machine
used by many German troops and the ??? (name escapes me)
which was meant to be far more complex and secure and only
used by the "high command" for critical uses. Even when
"cracked" the latter still required vast quantities of
deciphering effort to produce plain text output.

The decoding task


{Original Message removed}

1998\02\10@124021 by Matt Bonner

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face
Russell McMahon wrote:
>
> I suspect your enthusiasm for the exploits of the USA in WW2
> may be a little coloured by your nationality Myke :-). (Of
> course, as Carl Sagan was occasionally wont to say, I could
> be wrong). {I assume that you are a genuine US of A ite}.

Russell,

I think you saved yourself with that Sagan quote - myke's address ends
with a ".ca".  As a fellow ".ca", I don't like that confused with a
".godblessamericalandofthefree".  ;-)

--Matt

PS: Americans - note the smiley.

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