The mastermind behind the successful rebuilding of Colossus, the world's first operational computer, has died at the age of 80.
Tony Sale, born in 1931, was also a co-founder of the Bletchley Park Trust, an organisation dedicated to defending the World War II computing museum against the onslaught of housing developers.
Bletchley Park was the site of the UK's main decyption activities, where secret code-breaking activities took place during the war. The site was used by the government after the war, but fell into disrepair until it was taken over by the Trust.
A functioning replica of a Colossus computer was completed nearly five years ago at Bletchley Park, under Sale's supervision.
The Colossus machines were used to read encrypted German messages, but the blueprints for their development were destroyed after the war in order to maintain the project's secrecy.
Sale's rebuilding of Colossus was a major challenge involving lengthy research and a deep understanding of advanced mathematics as well as the engineering skills to assemble such a complex machine.
Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust, paid tribute to Sale's work.
"Tony's contribution to the early days of the development of the Trust when the site was under very real threat of development was fundamental. Without him, the Bletchley Park site and its hugely important history would perhaps not have survived," he said.
"His work on rebuilding Colossus was an enormous challenge and took many years to complete."
The UK government allocated £250,000 of Department of Culture, Media and Sport funding last year to help restore the computing centre at Bletchley Park.
The announcement, made by culture secretary Ben Bradshaw, followed a long campaign for better funding of the centre.
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