Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Imitation Game - the Alan Turing story - FANTASTIC Movie

I took my wife to see The Imitation Game this past week.  I did not tell Julie it was likely to be a geek movie that she would hate. I wanted to see if she liked it as a movie and not be influenced, in either direction, because the late and great Alan Turing is on the Mount Rushmore of computer legends.

Alan Turing photo.jpg
On the left is Alan Turing and the right is the "bombe" or the electromechanical machine Turing created to decipher the Enigma.

Whether or not you know anything about computers or have read multiple books on Alan Turing like I have, it is a GREAT movie.  I was blown away how well they handled the technical details and were able to tell a great story without blowing it on the technical side.

 Germany's Enigma machine

The movie is about one of the most important individuals in World War II that most people have never heard of - Alan Turing.  Turing's work saved 14 million lives and cut two years off the war according to most historians.  The story is the race to figure out the German's Enigma machine which was a state of the art encryption device the Germans used to communicate to their military.  The Germans changed the settings (master key if you will) daily.  The number of possibilities of this master key on the Enigma has 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 or 15 quintillion. In other words, you could not throw enough humans at this problem.  The only way to solve this was with a machine so Turing created a electromechanical machine that he called Christopher after his childhood friend who died.  It was called externally the bombe.

It is a brilliant movie of an incredible true story and I hope it wins the Oscar for the best movie.

NOTE: The three images come wikipedia and can be used via the GFDL.