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A look at the creation of one of the first computers in 1943, called Colossus. It was designed and programmed to solve a specific problem of breaking German encrypted messages quicker than humans could. Interviews and images from the National Computing Museum at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, combined with animations and newsreels, help to explain what encryption is and how the use of one of the world’s first digital computers helped to shorten the war by up to two years. Short animations, interviews and narrator explanations also address how problem solving and encryption is relevant to modern computing and data communications.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
5 July 2012

Classroom Ideas

This clip could be used to introduce students to the birth of computing, to help raise questions about the purpose of computers and automation relating to encryption and internet security. They could compare and contrast the hardware components of the Colossus machine against modern computers that enable these newer devices to be more general purpose.

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