23 June 2015

“The Imitation Game”

This is the story of the now legendary mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who with a team of code-breakers set about breaking the Germans’ encrypted military messages during World War II.

Turing, generally regarded as the father of the programmable computer, sought to build a machine that could speed up the deciphering of messages encoded by the Germans using their Enigma machines. These messages were regarded as unbreakable because the ‘key’ that determined the coding cipher was changed daily, meaning that any attempt to break the code needed to be completed within a very short time frame. He in fact improved on earlier work carried out by Polish cryptanalysts, although this isn’t mentioned in the film.

Turing was by all accounts not easy to get along with, and was also homosexual, homosexuality being criminalised in those unenlightened days. He was, however, one of the most influential people in science or mathematics of the twentieth century, who changed the course of computing and, more importantly at that time, changed the course of the war.