Famous computers, real and fictional: 10 questions

  1. What is the name of the computer that, in the UK, traditionally picks winning Premium Bonds?
  2. It is well-known that the computer in the book and film 2001: A Space Odyssey is called Hal. But what model number comes after Hal’s name?
  3. ENIAC is the name of a computer developed in 1946 by the University of Pennsylvania, the first designed to be able to perform different tasks depending on its programming. But for what purpose was it first used?
  4. Skynet is a malevolent AI in which series of films?
  5. What is the name of the IBM computer which beat Garry Kasparov at chess in a famous series of matches in 1996-7?
  6. What is the name of the computer in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which determined that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything was 42?
  7. What is the name of the computer program developed by Deep Mind which beat Kim Sedol, one of the world’s best Go players, at Go in 2015?
  8. The Engine is the name given to a mechanical generator of information in a novel of 1726, considered to be the first appearance in fiction of anything resembling a computer. What novel does it appear in?
  9. What is the name of the mechanical calculator built by Charles Babbage, designed to calculate polynomial functions? It was never completed in his lifetime, but the Science Museum built a version based on Babbage’s plans in 1999, which worked perfectly.
  10. Mother is a fictional artificial intelligence which powers which spaceship, in which film?

Answers below (scroll down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the name of the computer that, in the UK, traditionally picks winning Premium Bonds?
    A: Ernie
  2. It is well-known that the computer in the book and film 2001: A Space Odyssey is called Hal. But what model number comes after Hal’s name?
    A: 9000
  3. ENIAC is the name of a computer developed in 1946 by the University of Pennsylvania, the first designed to be able to perform different tasks depending on its programming. But for what purpose was it first used?
    A: The development of nuclear weapons 
  4. Skynet is a malevolent AI in which series of films?
    A: Terminator
  5. What is the name of the IBM computer which beat Garry Kasparov at chess in a famous series of matches in 1996-7?
    A: Deep Blue
  6. What is the name of the computer in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which determined that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything was 42?
    A: Deep Thought
  7. What is the name of the computer program developed by Deep Mind which beat Kim Sedol, one of the world’s best Go players, at Go in 2015?
    A: Alpha Go
  8. The Engine is the name given to a mechanical generator of information in a novel of 1726, considered to be the first appearance in fiction of anything resembling a computer. What novel does it appear in?
    A: Gulliver’s Travels
  9. What is the name of the mechanical calculator built by Charles Babbage, designed to calculate polynomial functions? It was never completed in his lifetime, but the Science Museum built a version based on Babbage’s plans in 1999, which worked perfectly.
    A: The Difference Engine
  10. Mother is a fictional artificial intelligence which powers which spaceship, in which film?
    A: The Nostromo, in Alien

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