Log in

No account? Create an account
planettom [userpic]

Alan Turing statue passes Turing test...

May 13th, 2011 (07:48 am)

Alan Turing statue passes Turing test...
...but fails Voight-Kampff test.
"There's a dog trying to play fetch with you, only you're not helping."
"What do you mean I'm not helping?!"
"I mean you're not helping, Alan!"

A loldog I made. From this YouTube video by jamiegoodwin87, of his dog trying to play fetch with a statue of Alan Turing, early computer scientist and codebreaker of the Nazi Enigma machine at Bletchley Park during World War II (Winston Churchill said Turing’s work was the greatest single contribution to victory in the Second World War). I made an Enigma machine simulator in Flash in 2006. Which in turn was based on Mike Koss's paper Enigma machine here.

An interesting thing that wikipedia points out: On the bench is a bit of supposed Enigma code that reads IEKYF RQMSI ADXUO KVKZC GUBJ.

Ostensibly this translates as FOUNDER OF COMPUTER SCIENCE.

Only it can't, because letter 14 of both phrases is U, and the Enigma machine doesn't work that way - it'll never substitute the same letter for a letter.

founder of compUter science
iekyfrq ms iadxUokv kzcgubj

Wikipedia attributes this to artistic error, but it seems more likely to me that this is an undecoded code, sort of like that sculpture outside the CIA building.

If this is all the information that can be gleaned though, assuming the artist did the Enigma code correctly, I think it'd be almost impossible to figure this one out, because there were so many different versions of the Enigma:
* Army Enigma - 3 rotors
* Navy Enigma - 3 from a set of 5.
* 1938 Navy Enigma - 3 from a set 7
* 1939 Navy Enigma - 3 from a set of 8.
* 1942 U-boat: 4 rotors

I guess maybe we could assume it's a particularly significant version that Turing worked on cracking --- maybe the very first one that the apparatus at Bletchley Park was able to solve, or the 1942 U-boat 4 rotor version.

Even assuming the simplest possible configuration, 3 rotors, no plugboard, not knowing the order of the rotors, or their start positions, it'd be rotor code (26*26*26) and rotor start position (26*26*26) which yields nearly 309 million possibilities (308,915,776). But then we don't know the rotor order so (3*2*1), so that yields over 1.8 billion possibilities (1,853,494,656).

Even if you knew everything but the rotor code, that'd yield 17,576 possibilities, which would be easy to dump into a text file. Not sure what you'd do then besides eyeballing it, I guess you could search the 24-character strings for words like ALAN, TURING, THE, CODE, stuff like that, in hopes of getting lucky.

Of course, this makes the assumption the message is in English, not German. Presumably real Enigma messages were coded in German, but in this case, if it's a secret message concerning Alan Turning, it'd make more sense for it to be in English.

This post (and this follow-up) suggests it might have something to do with a significant date in Turing's life. That could pertain to actual rotor settings in codebooks for a particular Enigma machine on that particular date (Birthday? June 23rd, Death date: June 7). Also, I suppose his initials (AMT) would make a good rotor setting.

I guess the question is, how did the artist come up with the code; did he have a real Enigma machine, codebooks, etc. or did he go to some web simulator of the Enigma machine, which may have resulted in a simplified scenario.

Since the statue is pretty much a monument to Gay Pride, it's probably not too unlikely the secret message is along those lines.

Incidentally, there's a 1995 novel by Robert Harris called ENIGMA (Amazon), about codebreaking in Bletchley Park. Apparently not very historically accurate, although I still think it gives a pretty good view of what the atmosphere was like in World War II England and what working at this secret codebreaking facility was like. Also there was a 2001 movie (DVD on Amazon), which is even less historically accurate, but still a pretty good movie. Kate Winslet, directed by Michael Apted (Who did the 3rd NARNIA movie, also THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, and those 7-Up, 14-Up, etc. documentaries), screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Co-produced by Mick Jagger, who is apparently quite the Enigma machine enthusiast and has his own Enigma machine.

There used to be a funny site called LOLBOTS.COM that was along the lines of that LOLCATS site I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?, but with robots instead of cats.

Later it got re-purposed by its creator for his cartoons, but some remnants of the original site can be found here.

But here was one I created for the site in 2007.


This of course being from the 1984 Michael Crichton-directed movie RUNAWAY, with Tom Selleck being threatened by robotic acid-spraying spiders sent by Super-villain Gene Simmons.

Here's a loldog I made in 2008 for Cheezburger sister-site I HAS A HOTDOG.