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A Visual Enigma Machine

by Travis Korte
Data visualization of the Enigma machine.

One of the great Allied accomplishments of World War II was breaking the code for the Enigma machine, a German-designed cipher device that had allowed the Axis military to transmit messages in secret. The machine and efforts to decrypt it captured the attention of some of the top mathematicians in Europe, but an interactive visualization published this week presents Enigma in a much more intuitive form. Using business analytics and visualization software Tableau, Cleveland-based data analyst Noah Salvaterra created a functioning Enigma machine. The Visual Enigma lets users input a message, change the complexity parameters to their liking, and watch as the machine generates the output message. ┬áThe machine’s inner workings are still complicated even with the visualization’s help, but Salvaterra provides a helpful overview for curious readers.

Take a look.

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