0

Colossus, the world’s first programmable electronic computer

Colossus, the world’s first programmable electronic computer

Today, we’d like to pay homage to a lesser-known contributor—Tommy Flowers. Bletchley Park’s breakthroughs were the product of theoretical mathematical brilliance combined with dazzling feats of engineering—none more so than Flowers’ creation of Colossus, the world’s first programmable, electronic computer.

By 1942 the hardest task facing Bletchley Park’s wartime codebreakers was deciphering messages encrypted by Lorenz, used by Germany for their most top-secret communications. Initially Lorenz messages were broken by hand, using ingenious but time-consuming techniques. To speed things up, it was decided to build a machine to automate parts of the decoding process. This part-mechanical, part-electronic device was called Heath Robinson, but although it helped, it was unreliable and still too slow.

Colossus, the world’s first programmable electronic computer


Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

Join 7,500+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython in 2018 – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/


Maker Business — Fewer startups, and other collateral damage from the 2018 tariffs

Wearables — Light as a Worbla feather

Electronics — Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your semiconductor is DOA

Biohacking — The Heart Rates of the Hazda

Python for Microcontrollers — One year of CircuitPython weeklies!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



3 Comments

  1. “Colossus: The Forbin Project”

  2. The Colossus has been rebuilt and on display in Bletchley Park. The museum is well worth a visit if you’re in the UK and interested in the history of codebreaking, WW2 or computing.

    http://www.codesandciphers.org.uk/
    http://www.tnmoc.org/
    http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

  3. Dimitri Katsaros

    … and not one word about Turing and how his ideas led to Colossus’ development in the first place???

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.