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in “ Tech news in brief ”,
October 12, 2020.

Facebook saves Bletchley Park

Classroom at the Bletchley Park National Museum.

Classroom at the Bletchley Park National Museum. CC BY 2.0, Marcin Wichary.

Facebook is donating 1.2 million pounds sterling (CAD2.05 million) to Bletchley Park, the UK computing museum. Bletchley Park’s finances have suffered since the beginning of the crisis, with a revenue shortfall of £2 million due to plummeting visitor numbers. The Park announced it was considering 35 layoffs, constituting a third of its workforce. Facebook’s donation will save some of these jobs, but it’s not clear how many. Facebook said it made the donation in recognition of Bletchley Park’s “ongoing legacy as a birthplace of modern computing.” The Park’s code-breakers and mathematicians not only cracked the Enigma codes used by the Nazis, an achievement that some historians say shortened the length of the war by two to four years, but they also made key theoretical and engineering breakthroughs. These include the creation of Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital computer, and the work of Alan Turing, the English mathematician who is seen as the father of modern computer science and artificial intelligence. At its height, the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park included some 10,000 employees, with women constituting roughly 75 percent of the workforce.

The Verge, James Vincent, “Facebook donates £1 million to help save UK’s WWII code-breaking center Bletchley Park.”


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