0
$\begingroup$

In the movie "The Imitation Game", Alan Turing along with his team crack the German encryption machine Enigma but advises his superiors to not act on all decrypted intelligence, as that might lead to the Germans getting suspicious about Enigma being cracked, possibly resulting in a change of its design to thwart further decryption efforts.

His character specifically says that his team "would develop a system to help determine how much intelligence to act on; which attacks to stop, which to let through, using statistical analysis; find the minimal number of actions it would take to win the war, but the maximal number that can be taken before the Germans get suspicious".

Is this historically accurate? If so, how was it done? What branch of mathematics/statistics deals with this?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ See, for example, cacm.acm.org/magazines/2017/1/211102-colossal-genius/fulltext for one historian's take on this movie. This movie is not historically accurate. Pay no attention to the man on the screen. $\endgroup$ – kimchi lover May 26 at 11:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I doubt it took Turing to advise experienced intelligence men about how to act on intelligence, and there is no evidence that Turing was involved in analysis of intelligence. I'm sure calculations were made about how much action to take based on codebreaking intelligence, including all sorts of statistical methods, but Turing was not the only mathematician in the country. $\endgroup$ – Steve May 26 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ Operations Research. $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo de Azevedo Jun 3 at 7:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.