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The Installation and Maintenance of Colossus

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129311D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 4 page(s) / 23K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

W. W. CHANDLER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The article describes the procedures adopted for the installation and maintenance of the Colossus machines installed at Bletchley Park during the latter years of World War 11.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 25% of the total text.

Page 1 of 4

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1983 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The Installation and Maintenance of Colossus

W. W. CHANDLER

  (Image Omitted: ©1983 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: 31 Station Crescent, Wembley, Middlesex HAO 2LB, England. © 1983 AFIPS 01 64-1 239/83/030260-262

The Installation and Maintenance of Colossus

W. W. CHANDLER 00/00)

The article describes the procedures adopted for the installation and maintenance of the Colossus machines installed at Bletchley Park during the latter years of World War 11.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2 [History of Computing] -- Colossus, hardware, people General Terms: Design Additional Key Words and Phrases: cryptology, Bletchley Park, "Heath Robinson"

The Colossus machines used by cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park were produced and installed from mid-1943 to the end of World War II in 1945. This article describes the procedures adopted for installation and maintenance of Colossus during that period. My main contribution to the program was to act as chief installation engineer and to devise ways of testing the machines and ensuring their satisfactory operation.

Installation of Mark I Machine

Mark I Colossus was the first of the series of Colossus machines and was the only one initially completed at the Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill and subsequently moved to Bletchley. Construction of the machine had proceeded during the summer of 1943, the circuit design and the manufacture of the equipment being carried out more or less in parallel. As each new group of circuits was designed, the various panels and their interconnections were constructed. In order to test the equipment, loops of input teleprinter tape having repetitive patterns were fed into the photoelectric tape reader, providing an easy means of synchronizing the oscilloscope time base, so that satisfactory operation of the individual circuits could be established.

By the autumn of 1943, sufficient progress had been made to initiate the removal of the machine to Bletchley. This involved undoing the interrack cabling, but fortunately it was found that only one end of most of the interrack cables needed to be disconnected, because the positioning of the racks at Bletchley was similar to that adopted at Dollis Hill. Some cabling, notably that between the two suites of racks, could not be so accommodated, however, and totally new cabling a...