Conference: Security: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


On November 7th 2009, the ACCU will be holding a one day conference at Bletchley Park, home of the legendary World War II ‘Enigma’ code breakers, and the site at which the world’s first digital computer went operational.
Confirmed speakers (alphabetical order) include:

Speaker: Tony Sale Hon FBCS

After careers in electronics and computing Tony Sale set up the first Museums in Bletchley Park in 1994, has researched the breaking of German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers in World War II and rebuilt the Colossus Mk2 computer.
Title: How the Germans gave away their "unbreakable" codes.
Abstract: Tony will describe how human operator errors enabled the code breakers in WW II Bletchley Park to decipher vital German messages both on the battlefield Enigma cipher machine and the German High Command Lorenz cipher machine, literally used by Hitler to his Generals.

Speaker: Simon Singh, author, journalist and TV producer

Simon Singh is an author, journalist and TV producer specialising in science and mathematics, and author of ‘The Code Book’, a history of codes and code breaking from Ancient Egypt to the Internet. Personal web site at <>

Title: Cracking the Cipher Challenge
Abstract: In "The Code Book", a history of cryptography, the author Simon Singh included ten encrypted messages with a prize of £10,000 for the first person or team to decipher all of them. Thousands of amateur and professional codebreakers took up the Cipher Challenge, but it took over a year before the messages were cracked. Simon Singh will be talking about how he constructed the Cipher Challenge and how the winners eventually cracked it. He will also be using the Cipher Challenge to give an introduction to the history of cryptography and to demonstrate why encryption is more important today than ever before. As part of the talk, Singh will also operate a genuine Second World War Enigma cipher machine.

Speaker: Phil Zimmermann, the original creator of the PGP e-mail encryption package

Phil Zimmermann is the original creator of the PGP e-mail encryption package which, despite three years of government persecution, became the most widely used e-mail encryption software in the world. Personal web site at <>

The Conference

The Conference will be held in the elegant Victorian Bletchley Park Mansion, at the centre of Bletchley Park itself, allowing conference attendees the opportunity to visit the exhibits on show at the National Museum of Computing and the rest of Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park is home to a number of unique artefacts, including the Colossus, the Bombe (including the mock-up that featured in the film ‘Enigma’), original Enigma machines, and a Lorenz coding machine. The Bletchley Park web site is at <>. The National Museum of Computing web site is at <>
The conference is organised by the ACCU. The ACCU is an organisation of programmers who care about professionalism in programming and are dedicated to raising the standard of programming. The proceeds of the conference will go to the Bletchley Park Trust to help with the upkeep
of Bletchley Park. Conference rates are £85 ACCU members/ £95 non-ACCU members. The ACCU web site is at <>.
For further information contact:

  • Astrid Byro <astrid.byro[at]>, or
  • Alan Lenton <alanlenton[at]>

For tickets: