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Enigma Cipher Machines – The Tipperary Connection

 The Stoney Family of North Tipperary

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Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS (1912 – 1954).

The Stoney family (latter family name originally Danish), were once prominent landlords, here in North Tipperary.
Ethel Sara Stoney (1881–1976), was born on November 18th, at Podanur, in the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India, the daughter of Edward Waller Stoney (Borrisokane, North Tipperary) and Sarah Crawford (Cartron Abbey, Co. Longford); Protestant Anglo-Irish gentry.

Her father was Chief Engineer of the Madras Railways, which played a pioneering role in developing railways in southern India, before being merged in 1908 with Southern Mahratta Railway to form the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway.

Educated at Alexandra School and College, Dublin, and at Cheltenham Ladies College, before attending lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris, she returned to join her parents in Madras, preferring to use her middle Christian name that of ‘Sara’. On October 1st 1907 she married Julius Mathison Turing, son of Reverend John Robert Turing and Fanny Boyd, in Dublin.

Many television viewers recently would have watched the film “The Imitation Game” which starred amongst others Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. This film, which grossed over $233.6 million at the box office, was based on the life of Sara Turing’s son Alan Mathison Turing.  Born on June 23rd 1912, the second and last child (after his brother John Ferrier Turing) later he would be regarded as being one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century.

Those of you, our readers, who viewed this film (Highly recommended viewing, I might add) will be aware that Alan Turing was educated at Sherborne College and Cambridge University, and received a PhD from Princeton, having sailed on the liner Berengaria to New York arriving at Princeton in September 1936. A brilliant mathematician and cryptographer Alan was truly the founder of modern day computer science and artificial intelligence and designed a machine to help break secret Enigma encrypted messages [1] being then circulated by the Nazi German war machine during World War 2.

[1]  Enigma devices were electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines developed and used in the mid-twentieth century to convey and protect sensitive commercial, diplomatic and military communications. Invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius towards the end of World War I, these early models were also used commercially by Japan, Italy and most notably Nazi Germany before and during World War II.

Many readers however will not be aware that Alan’s mother was a member of this same Stoney family who once resided at Tombrickane, Kyle Park, Borrisokane, North Co. Tipperary.

Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill once stated that Alan Turing made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany, possibly saving the lives of an estimated 2 million people, through his efforts in shortening World War 2. Churchill was first introduced to Alan Turing during a visit to the highly secretive Hut No 8 at ‘Bletchley Park’, establishment in September 1941. The following month Turing and three other cryptographers wrote directly to Sir Winston Churchill seeking further administrative resources; a request which Prime Minister Churchill immediately made available.

Described as one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century, in 1945 Turing was awarded the OBE by King George VI for his wartime services which included (between the years 1939 – 1942), the breaking of U-boat Enigma messages, thus ensuring allied victory in the battle of the Atlantic. His work continued to remain top secret for many years and Turing machines still remain, to this very day, a central object for study in the theory of computation.

Apart from his work in breaking Nazi Enigma codes from 1945 to 1947, Turing worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) at the British National Physical Laboratory and presented a paper (February 19th 1946), laying out his vision for the first detailed design of a stored-program computer.

Alas, in 1952 his brilliant career was to be halted; brought about by a short homosexual affair with a 19 year old, named as Arnold Murray. “Eaten bread is soon forgotten” as my grandmother used to say, and Alan’s private life would now come into conflict with an ingrate society displaying short term memory.

Turing and Murray were both prosecuted for homosexual acts, (under section 11 of the then Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885), then considered illegal whether carried out in private or in public. Now with the loss of security clearance to fund his work, Alan chose chemical castration as an alternative to the punishment of a long gaol sentence.

Between 1953 and 54 much of his work in biology and physics remained unfinished and on the 7th of June 1954 Alan was found dead as a result of cyanide poisoning, in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Although suicide was suspected, Alan left no suicide note, having eaten an apple apparently laced with cyanide. This apple however was never fully tested, leaving his mother to never accept the Coroner’s suicide verdict or indeed understand Alan’s actual motivation to end his life.

Certainly his humiliation by prosecutors and the cruel effects of his hormone treatment would have greatly influenced his then mental state, but it was not until September 2009 that former British Labour Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown would make a formal apology on behalf of the British Government, firstly recognising his contribution to World War 2 and secondly for Turing’s treatment stating ‘he deserved better’.  On the 12th of June 1954, Alan’s body was cremated at Woking Crematorium, St John’s, and his ashes scattered.

Perhaps the apple with the bite taken out, which constitutes the logo on the back of your iPhone or MacBook Pro after all remains as a tribute to Alan Turing, although Apple the American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, apparently dismiss this association.

Regarding his mother Ethel Sara Stoney from North Tipperary; her death came during the early part of her 95th year, on March 6th 1976, while she residing at Stoneycrest, Churt Road, Hindhead, Surrey, England, and following her death, like her son, she too was also cremated.

Perhaps someone will unveil a small commemorative plaque during 2017 in memory of Sara and Alan at Borrisokane; if only in our quest to encourage elusive tourists.

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LIT Thurles Students Scoop Awards At Games Fleadh 2016

Three LIT Thurles students have been recognised for their achievements in game design and development at Games Fleadh 2016, an all-island games design and development competition for third-level students.

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Winning LIT Thurles Students; David Morton, Samantha Marah and Samuel MacSweeney at Thurles Games Fleadh 2016.

Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games, Ubisoft and the Irish Computer Society, the 13th annual Games Fleadh event took place on March 9th on LIT’s Thurles campus which is home to the B.Sc in Computing in Games Design and Development.

Event organisers reported their busiest year yet with over 29 teams taking part in various game design and development competitions. The entries were viewed, played and tested by over 400 members of the general public who attended the event.

A stellar cast of judges reviewed the entries and scored the students on their creations. The judges included John Romero the creator of Doom, representatives from EA Games and Snozbot.

David Morton, a 4th year LIT student, won ‘Best in Game Play’ and ‘Best Windows Phone Game’ for his game ‘Pirates vs Aliens’. Samantha Marah and Samuel MacSweeney, both 2nd year students, were awarded ‘Best in Original Digital Art’ and ‘Best in Original Story’ for their game ‘Pixel Pirate Defense’.

Speaking about Games Fleadh 2016, event organiser and lecturer at LIT’s Game Design and Development degree in Thurles Dr. Liam Noonan said, “Games Fleadh was a fantastic event and it showcased the emerging Irish game design and development talent out there. We were delighted with the achievements of our Games Design and Development students.”

Visit www.gamesfleadh.ie for more.

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Death Of Nano Quinlan, Cabra, Thurles,

With-sincere-sympathyIt was with sadness we learned of the death yesterday, Tuesday 9th February 2016, of Mrs Nano Quinlan (née Egan), Eldergrove, Cabra, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mrs  Quinlan passed away peacefully in the loving care of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Dublin. Her passing is most deeply regretted by her loving husband Michael, her son Tom, daughters Aoife and Deirdre, son-in-law Dermot, daughter-in-law Mary, partner James, grandchildren Sam, Rachel, Sarah, Diarmuid and Conor, brothers Rev Fr John, Tom and Pat, sisters Mary, Lena, Anna, Margaret and Bridget, nephews and nieces, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, relatives and many friends.

Funeral Arrangements
The earthly remains of Mrs  Quinlan will repose at her residence in Eldergrove, Cabra, Thurles, this Wednesday, 10th February, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, before arriving at the Cathedral of The Assumption, Thurles at 12:30pm on Thursday 11th February.

Requiem Mass will take place at 1:15pm with burial immediately afterwards in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Moyne Road, Thurles.

Note: House private on Thursday please. Family flowers only. Donations if desired to Suir Haven, Thurles.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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Irish Gaming Industry Under Spotlight In Thurles Tipperary

Ireland’s growing status as a location for digital games research and development will be highlighted tomorrow (11/3/2015) when three of the biggest names in the industry participate in Games Fleadh 2015.

gamesLIT Tipperary, whose alumni have worked on some of gaming’s biggest titles including Call of Duty, StarCraft and Guitar Hero, will host Ireland’s largest gaming event at its campus in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Games Fleadh will feature games development and research talks by prolific American games designers and developers Brenda and John Romero and Electronic Arts (EA) Chief Operating Officer Bryan Neider,  who will also assist in the judging process for the various undergraduate competitions involving third levels students and games developers from all over the island of Ireland.

Bryan Neider is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Electronic Arts (EA), which is responsible for producing some of the best-selling video game titles of all time including The Sims, FIFA, Battlefield and Madden NFL.

Brenda and John Romero have each more than 30 years experience working in the gaming industry, over 150 game titles such as DOOM and Quake to their credit, dozens of awards and have collectively founded nine game companies.

Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games and the Irish Computer Society, the 12th annual Games Fleadh will feature the ‘Direct X’ Endless Runner challenge, Robocode and the Game Studio ‘Endless Runner’ competition, the winners and runners up of which will present their games to Brenda and John Romero and the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Greenlight Committee.

Games Fleadh presents a fantastic opportunity for students to create a prototype game, meet people from industry and make a name for themselves within the Irish game sector,” said Dr. Liam Noonan, Lecturer at LIT’s Game Design and Development degree in Thurles at the launch of Games Fleadh 2015.

“In terms of career development, participating in this competition is invaluable as students are adding to their portfolio of creative content and networking with students from other colleges and people from the games industry. It is these up and coming game developers and their innovative ideas that will act as the catalyst for job creation in the Irish game development sector,” added Dr. Noonan.

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LIT Thurles Showcases Irish Gaming Industry

Leading gaming experts including Head of EA to participate in LIT/Microsoft Ireland event in Thurles.

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Shannon Mostert and Ciara Bull from Nenagh, Co Tipperary

Some of the biggest names in the gaming industry will gather at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) campus here in Thurles later this month to participate in Games Fleadh 2015, an all-island games design and development competition for third-level students.

LIT Tipperary, whose alumni have worked on some of gaming’s biggest titles including ‘Call of Duty’, ‘StarCraft’ and ‘Guitar Hero’, has announced it will host Ireland’s largest gaming event on Wednesday March 11th.

Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games and the Irish Computer Society, the 12th annual Games Fleadh will feature the ‘Direct X’ Endless Runner challenge, Robocode and the Game Studio ‘Endless Runner’ competition, the winners and runners up of which will present their games to Brenda and John Romero and the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Greenlight Committee.

Games Fleadh 2015 – Open to the public for free

Brenda and John Romero have each more than 30 years experience working in the gaming industry, over 150 game titles such as DOOM and Quake to their credit, dozens of awards and have collectively founded nine game companies.

Games Fleadh will also feature games development and research talks by industry veterans such as Bryan Neider who will assist in the judging process for the various under graduate competitions. Neider is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Electronic Arts (EA) labels, which collectively are responsible for producing some of the bestselling video game titles of all time including The Sims, FIFA, Battlefield and Madden NFL.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students to create a prototype game, meet people from industry and make a name for themselves within the Irish game sector,” said Dr. Liam Noonan, Lecturer at LIT’s Game Design and Development degree in Thurles at the launch of Games Fleadh 2015.

“In terms of career development, participating in this competition is invaluable as students are adding to their portfolio of creative content and networking with students from other colleges and people from the games industry. It is these up and coming game developers and their innovative ideas that will act as the catalyst for job creation in the Irish game development sector,” added Dr. Noonan.

According to Dr. Noonan: “We were delighted and privileged to work with the Fulbright U.S. Specialist Award scholar Brenda Romero and her husband John back in September in our Thurles campus and they were very supportive of our Games Fleadh initiative. They suggested that the 2015 theme should be Endless Runner as this would allow students flexibility in designing either a 2D or 3D game.”

Commenting about Games Fleadh 2015, Brenda and John Romero said: “We are really excited to be involved in Games Fleadh this year. Having travelled all over Ireland and met hundreds of students and game developers, we know how much talent the country has and are looking forward to seeing this year’s results.”

Speaking ahead of his visit to Ireland, Mr. Bryan Neider stated: “I am looking forward to meeting the games design and development students at LIT Games Fleadh 2015, discussing their “Endless Runner” games and sharing our experiences at EA Games in the design and development of future titles.”

Stephen Howell, Academic Engagement Manager, Microsoft Ireland commented: “Microsoft is delighted to be on board sponsoring the Games Fleadh once again in 2015. We have demonstrated our commitment to the competition over the long term as it represents a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the immense third level games design talent in this country. It also plays a unique role in promoting knowledge-sharing, with international experts taking part and the latest research in the field up for discussion.”

Games Fleadh 2015 is open to the public for free. Online registration is available at www.gamesfleadh.ie.

For more visit www.twitter.com/gamesfleadh or search Twitter #gamesfleadh.

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