RMSK, Inc.        
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Colossus cracks codes once more

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Kilovolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Como, Italy
    Posts
    2,384

    Default Colossus cracks codes once more

    This morning BBC News report that:

    For the first time in more than 60 years a Colossus computer will be cracking codes at Bletchley Park.

    The machine is being put through its paces to mark the end of a project to rebuild the pioneering computer.
    It will be used to crack messages enciphered using the same system employed by the German high command during World War II. The Colossus will be pitted against modern PC technology which will also try to read the scrambled messages.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7094881.stm



  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, Calif.
    Posts
    1,470

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    Fascinating. I have often wondered how the performance of purpose-built "machines of old" stack up against an average PC. I did a little reading on Wikipedia but couldn't seem to find any comparisons of the cypher strength compared to, say, PGP.

    Those old computers are interesting to read about. A few days I ago I was reading about the ENIAC and found some links to home-brew versions that use CMOS for their processing power, an ENIAC emulator Java applet, and even an ENIAC-on-a-chip!

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    At World's End
    Posts
    5,851

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    Very cool. The ancients would be appalled at an ENIAC on a chip

    Dedicated computers are EXTREMELY fast. The Colossus would be called 'hardware accelerated' in today's time and age (it was ALL hardware actually, but that's a different story..)

    As an example, processing a single raw digital image on my Core2Duo 2Ghz, converting about 13 megapixels of imaging sensor data to a JPEG file, takes around 15-20 seconds. The dedicated hardware chip in the camera can do this three times PER SECOND..... ! And that little chip consumes so little power that I can easily take ~800 shots on a single battery, whereas that battery would run flat in seconds if I ran my C2D on it.
    Celebrating the ROP.. 5 years of history

  4. #4

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    Quote Originally Posted by scott.cr View Post
    Fascinating. I have often wondered how the performance of purpose-built "machines of old" stack up against an average PC. I did a little reading on Wikipedia but couldn't seem to find any comparisons of the cypher strength compared to, say, PGP.
    PGP is far stronger than anything from the pre-computer era. It's not simply a matter of what the hardware can do; the theory of cryptography (i.e. people's knowledge of what good cryptography has to do) has also advanced a great deal, and PGP utilizes those advances.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* TOOCOOL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    I was just going to post a link for this, I'm glad others are interested its a piece of living history now.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    la bonne vie en Amérique
    Posts
    4,749

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    Thanks for the link.

    I've always been interested in Colossus. I've read that the security surrounding it was so intense that even those with the top security clearances who worked with it every day were forbidden from ever referring to it as a computer in working conversation. Everyone in the know who worked with it was always required to call it "the bomb".

  7. #7
    Flashaholic winston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Go ahead and call it "Frisco" - I don't care.
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    Quote Originally Posted by paulr View Post
    PGP is far stronger than anything from the pre-computer era. It's not simply a matter of what the hardware can do; the theory of cryptography (i.e. people's knowledge of what good cryptography has to do) has also advanced a great deal, and PGP utilizes those advances.
    About 5-10 years ago, BBC Radio ran a great series about codes and cryptography. It went from Roman Empire-era codes to quantum cryptography, each episode dealing with a major advancement in the field. Part four was on PGP, and it explained it in a really helpful way. It's probably on ListenAgain if anyone's interested.
    -Winston

  8. #8
    Flashaholic Dantor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: Colossus cracks codes once more

    ahh ohh! Their was a 70's movie about a super computer that took over the world called "The Forbin Project" and the computer was named "Colossus!" we're doomed...
    Shining on

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •