A very Internet New Year 2012
2012 is the year of many celebrations. It was 20 years ago that Internet Society was founded, and 15 years that the Netherlands got its own chapter of the Internet Society. It was 10 years ago that we got the Euro. We still have all three.
2012 is also the Alan Turing year, celebrating the life and mind of this great British mathematician turned computer scientist born exactly one century ago. Alan Turing did some of the major ground work in the history of computer science, and in 1945 was the first human to completely grasp and write down the groundbreaking idea of the universal computer. Prior to that he also led the secret team at Bletchley Park that cracked the military versions of the Enigma family of famous German cryptography systems, which meant that the communication that was assumed to be confidential by the German military became transparent to its allied enemies. After that Turing managed to make one more major contribution before the end of his short life by writing the seminal works on artificial intelligence, devising the so called 'Turing test' that defines the vague line between human and artificial intelligence.
On the top you see one of the original cogwheels of Enigma, the 'unbreakable' German high-speed crypto machine invented by German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I. Where modern cryptography is done through software, Enigma was very much a physical device made of electro-mechanical rotors. The text on the shirt says (with a pun which can only be made in the german language): Sind Sie sicher?. This means both "Are you safe?" and "Are you certain?". Two age-old questions which are still at the very heart of the internet as we know it today...