Facebook announced a £ 1 million ($ 1.3 million or R $ 7.2 million) donation to Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing, known as the father of computer science, helped crack the communication code of the Nazis in World War II. The space today functions as a museum, but deals with a drop in revenue amid the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
In a statement from Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, the company said it was lucky to be able to contribute to the site. “Facebook simply wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for Bletchley Park. The work of its most brilliant scientist, Alan Turing, still inspires our tens of thousands of engineers and research scientists today and is central to the entire field of computing, which has and will continue to shape the lives of billions of people. ”
As Facebook also recalled, the work to decipher Enigma, a machine used by Nazis to exchange encrypted messages, was carried out by almost 10,000 people, 75% of whom were women. The company says the work done by the group changed the course of the war, saved millions of lives and laid the foundation for modern computer science and for advances in artificial intelligence, online security and cryptography.
The company said it also decided to make the donation because the UK is like its second home. There, its workforce exceeds 3,000 employees, more than half of whom are in the area of software engineering and technology. The company also said it wants the story of Bletchley Park to be known to everyone.
“We hope that by helping to keep Bletchley Park open, more people can learn the history of the diverse group of people who founded modern computing,” continued Schroepfer.
Facebook helps to recover Bletchley Park finances
The drop in revenue has made it difficult for Bletchley Park, which could be forced to lay off 35 employees, about a third of its workforce. With the donation from Facebook, the agency that manages the site has already received £ 447,000 (about R $ 3.2 million) from the UK Cultural Recovery Fund, which helps to recover more than half of the deficit.
“With this significant support, the Bletchley Park Trust will be better positioned to operate in the ‘new world’ and keep its doors open for future generations,” said the CEO of the trust, Ian Standen.