Secrets, spies and supercomputers





This week, BBC News is running a series of articles about pioneering British computers and British computer pioneers. The series begins with a look at research into computers developed at GCHQ after the Second World War.

The influence of the 1939-45 war on the development of computers is well known. That conflict spurred the creation of pioneering machines such as Colossus at Bletchley Park and Eniac in the US.

Also, many of the engineers who contributed to wartime inventions such as radar went on to develop other influential machines at Cambridge and Manchester, and at companies such as Elliott and Ferranti.

Research by computer historian Simon Lavington has shown that efforts to produce special purpose code-cracking machines, such as Colossus, did not stop when hostilities were over.



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