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Tommy Flowers

Tommy Flowers was a British engineer who designed the world's first programmable electronic computer – the 'Colossus'.

Flowers had first proposed the electronic computer system during the Second World War to decode a complex German cipher machine nicknamed 'Tunny' by the British. This cipher was far more complex than the Enigma Machine and was impossible to decode by hand. His proposal however, did not convince Bletchley Park Management due to the vast complexities of developing such as system (it used 1,800 vacuum tubes whereas the previous most advanced electronic system used just 150) and he was forced to fund the project himself. Thankfully the chief engineer at Donnis Hill had faith in Flowers and a small team of engineers completed work on the machine in 11 months.

Nicknamed 'Colossus' for its room-filling proportions it was put into service at Bletchley Park on the 1st June 1944 and provided crucial intelligence for the D-day landings and beyond. His contribution to the war effort has often been cited for shortening the war by at least two years and saving countless lives. Sadly, due to the secrecy surrounding developments at Bletchly Park (which were not revealed until the 1970s) his achievements have only recieved limited recognition. He received a £1000 (which did not even cover his personal investment into the project) and a MBE. The team at noat believe he deserves greater recognition for his vital contribution to the war effort.

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