Sunday, July 30, 2006

An unsung hero

Tommy Flowers

The main man behind the invention of Colossus, the world's first electronic computer, whose very existence was kept secret until the 70s, roughly round about the time when personal computers were starting to appear as hobbyist kits. The UK's obsessive secrecy, lasting long after both Colossus and the Lorenz machines (whose transmissions it deciphered) were obsolete, meant losing a big lead in the development of computing and consigning Tommy to obscurity. Dr. Alan Turing's often credited with Colossus, but according to Flowers had nothing to do with it.

Perhaps he should've changed his name, Tommy Flowers is the sort of name you associate with a bloke down the pub or a minor county cricketer, rather than one of the greatest techies ever.


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