By Nicholas Metropolis
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Additional info for A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century
Aiken was severely criticized behind his back by many people during these years for being so stodgy and sticking to electromechanical devices when there were electronic devices available. In this connection, I should like to quote Tony Oettinger, who talked to Aiken throughout that period. , the Williams tube) was not sufficiently reliable. He was criticized from 1946 to 1952 and I think that the historians can settle whether it was in 1949 or 1951 that he became too conservative, but if we allow for the time between conceiving an idea, developing it into a practical design, getting money to support the building of a computer, and actually building it, perhaps things will fall into perspective.
For example, Beesly says that cryptanalysis "certainly enabled the Admiralty to deliver a shattering blow against her [the Bismarck's] supply ship organization, which virtually ruled out any further long distance cruises by the remaining heavy units . . " At Bletchley some of us thought one of our decryptions made a critical difference to the sinking of the Bismarck because we did not know it had already been located. In a conversation with me in February 1977, the military historian Ronald Lewin suggested this explanation of our apparent misconception.
Hydrodynam. (L. M. ), pp. 117-157. S. National Research Council, 1975. DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS HARVARD UNIVERSITY CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS A HISTORY OF COMPUTING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Pioneering Work on Computers at Bletchley /. J. GOOD This paper is related to the pioneering work on electronic computers at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, during World War II. It is permissible to talk about this work because, in October 1975, photographs of COLOSSUS, one of the machines built during the war, were made available at the Public Record Office and Science Museum.
A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century by Nicholas Metropolis