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Computers (and related technology)

Computers are indisputably a part of all our lives now, and quiz questions are being asked that are about computers but cannot (IMHO) in any way be classified as science. This page covers the stuff that I do class as scientific, including the history of computer science. There is more about computers, that I don't consider to be science (it is a bit of a moot point), in the General Knowledge section – please click here.

People

French textile manufacturer (1752–1834), invented a punched card system for programming designs on a carpet–making loom Click to show or hide the answer
Cambridge mathematician (1792–1871): proposed a machine for calculating astronomical and mathematical tables – the "difference engine" – to the Royal Astronomical Society in 1822; granted £700 by the government to build it, but was unable to make parts to the precision and in the quantity required; described a mechanical (steam–driven) "analytical engine" in 1837, whose logical structure was essentially the same as that of an electronic computer; failed to complete construction of any of his machines due to conflicts with his chief engineer and inadequate funding. (A functioning difference engine, based on his original plans, was built at the Science Museum 1989–91.) Click to show or hide the answer
The only daughter of Lord Byron – a gifted mathematician: created a programme for Babbage's Analytical Engine to calculate a series of Bernoulli numbers – but it never ran because the machine was never finished. Nevertheless she is widely recognised as the first computer programmer Click to show or hide the answer
US inventor (1860–1929) of a mechanical tabulating machine used successfully in the 1890 census Click to show or hide the answer
US programmer: sent the first email, on ARPANET (an application created by the US Department of Defense, described as the precursor of the Internet) in 1971, and is credited with inventing email; died in 2016, aged 74 Click to show or hide the answer
English mathematician and computer scientist, 1912–54, often considered the father of modern computer science and of artificial intelligence; carried out vital work in breaking the German Enigma codes in World War II; devised a test, in 1950, to determine whether a computer was behaving intelligently, as a human being would (artificial intelligence), which was named after him; a memorial was unveiled in Sackville Gardens, Manchester (previously Whitworth Gardens) in 2001; also has part of Manchester's inner ring road named after him Click to show or hide the answer
English computer scientist (born London 1955), inventor of the World Wide Web: proposed an information management system in March 1989, while working at CERN, and on Christmas Day 1990 implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer

General

Babbage's later machines (i.e. successors to the Difference Engine) – programmable using punched cards Click to show or hide the answer
Developed in 1964 by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz, at Dartmouth College (USA), to make computers accessible to students in fields other than science and mathematics Click to show or hide the answer
One bit per second (transmission rate across a network) Click to show or hide the answer
'Bit' is short for Click to show or hide the answer
The amount of memory required to hold one character Click to show or hide the answer
Programming language developed by Admiral Grace Hopper Click to show or hide the answer
Shows where the next character will appear on the screen Click to show or hide the answer
Babbage's name for his first mechanical calculating machine, designed to compute the values of polynomial functions Click to show or hide the answer
Language developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and technical applications: still widley used in those fields in the 21st century Click to show or hide the answer
Manufacturer of the 80286, (80)386, (80)486, and Pentium processors; co–founded (1968) by Gordon Moore (originator of Moore's Law) Click to show or hide the answer
Language developed by James Gosling of Sun Microsystems, and released in 1995: designed to run on any platform without amendment; rapidly became one of the most widely used Click to show or hide the answer
Open UNIX–based operating system with a penguin as its logo Click to show or hide the answer
The Intel 404 was the first ever Click to show or hide the answer
Formulated 1964: holds that every 18 months, the price (of processors) halves and the power doubles Click to show or hide the answer
Hand–controlled input device used to control a pointer on a screen; invented 1964 by Douglas Engelbart at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). (The first ball mouse was developed in 1972 by Bill English at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, PARC) Click to show or hide the answer
Half a byte (four bits – the amount of storage needed to store one hexadecimal digit) Click to show or hide the answer
Single dot on a screen (contraction of 'picture element'); also used to describe the resolution of digital cameras (typically with the prefix 'mega' to indicate 1 million) Click to show or hide the answer
Language developed in the late 1980s by Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum, who took the name from a British comedy sketch television programme that he was a fan of Click to show or hide the answer
Operating system developed at AT&T's Bell Laboratories (New Jersey) in the 1970s: licensed to outside parties from the late 1970s, becoming the first portable operating system; clones include Linux and Apple's macOS Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017