A Computeing History Quiz

❎✅✴️

from “A Chip On Her Shoulder”, a novel by Susan L. Gerhart


Here are some important eras in computing. If you were alive in the era, what do you remember about events and personalities? Fill in your history blanks, learn some new tech terms, and figure out the trends of your life.


Match the names below with the eras they appeared in. And back up each match with a web link (Wikipedia is OK). For “extra credit”, find an off-the-web reference.

Terms: People/Places/Concepts


  • a presidential candidate
  • daughter of Lord Byron
  • Admiral Poindexter
  • Jonathan Postel
  • leapfrog, originality not imitation
  • Usenet alt.*, comp.c
  • Prolog, programming in logic
  • all seeing eye
  • Rand Corporation
  • Difference engine
  • the Singularity
  • AOL, Prodigy, CompuServe
  • Stephen Wolff, NSF
  • power law, rich get richer
  • Risks Digest
  • ICOT, Alvey, Esprit, MCC
  • Vint and Bob,CNR
  • Moore’s Law
  • flame war, Hitler
  • Project Vanguard
  • Ken Olson, An Wang
  • filter bubble
  • Alan Turing
  • Laika
  • MEMEX
  • DEC, Apollo, PRIME
  • David L. Parnas
  • Vannevar Bush
  • Beep Beep Beep
  • Trans-humanism
  • Alta vista, Northern Light, AllTheWeb
  • Strategic Defense Initiative
  • Xanadu, Ted Nelson
  • Mountain View CA museum

Epochs of Computing


  1. end of the 1st industrial revolution held the seeds of computing. “Gentlemen science and mathematicians” were capable of describing programming. Where would you go to find a working model?

  2. World War II brought cryptography, human/woman computers, and a need for re-tracking war-time scientists and engineers toward peace-time applications. Asking whether machines could surpass humans and manage knowledge opened imaginations. Some great minds became presidential advisers and another ate cyanide apples.

  3. Where did you hear about Sputnik? Describe the satellite. Did the Eisenhower era initiatives in education assist you personally? Why did Russia beat the U.S. into space?

  4. Was the Arpanet developed for war-time defense or human-computer collaboration? Which organizations and individuals get credit?

  5. What was industry like during the Massachusetts Miracle? Who were the heroes of office applications, software engineering education, graphical workstations ?

  6. How did Reagan’s “Star Wars” stimulate growth of system engineering fields related to risk, safety, reliability? Did scientists influence missile defense policy? How?

  7. What advances did the Japanese Fifth Generation Computer System project contribute to computing? Who were competitors spawned from that era?

  8. How did social media evolve *before* the WWW? How were messages and groups exchanged? What was ‘Godwin’s Law’?

  9. How did the commercial Intrnet evolve from the academic-military Arpanet?

  10. What did DARPA and the intelligence community cook up immediately post-9-11? How did Congress react?
  11. What was the era of Googlearchy? What influences persist to today?

  12. When human and machines are of equal capability, what results? What do you think will occur?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s