The Y2K problem threatened to bring down computers worldwide twenty-one years ago. In another seventeen years, the Year 2038 problem may do the same.
In 2011, the World Computer Chess Championship banned the four-time champion Rybka chess engine for cheating.
In the 1993 World Open chess tournament, an unknown competitor drew a match against a grandmaster. He used a computer to cheat.
On December 29, 2010, Eddie Tipton won US$14.3 million from Hot Lotto. In 2015 he went to jail for it. Tipton had hacked the lottery’s random number generator.
Why can computers play chess or Go better than any human but struggle with walking or seeing? This is Moravec’s paradox.
The Apollo Guidance Computer used core rope memory; the software was literally woven by hand into it.
In 2010 a satirical video “game” called Cow Clicker accidentally became a viral sensation, despite being one of the most deliberately tedious games ever invented.
If you want to decipher an encrypted message, it’s helpful to plant some plaintext seeds.
The cellular automaton Langton’s Ant follows just two simple commands, and in doing so moves in turn from symmetry to chaos to implacable order.
If you want a job as a programmer, you need to know how to fizz buzz.
Since the 1980s most colour printers and photocopiers add a set of secret near-invisible dots to every page they print. The dots uniquely identify the origin and timestamp of that printout.
The esoteric programming language Whitespace uses only three characters: tabs, spaces, and line breaks. That makes it effectively invisible to the naked eye.
Usenet (the early online discussion network) saw a rush of new American users each September, when a new crop of students began university or college. But from 1993 on, the September never ended.
Polyglot programmes run in more than one programming language at the same time. One example runs in C, PHP, and Bash; another one runs in a ridiculous 282 different languages.
Since 2000, millions of hours of computer time have been donated by people around the world to determine how proteins fold in the human body. This may help to understand and treat Alzheimer’s, cancer, HIV, flu, and the coronavirus.
The silicon chip pictured here is the central processor from a 1991 Hewlett-Packard 9000 700-series workstation. It contains 577,000 transistors… and a horse?