On December 9, 1968, a team led by computer scientist Douglas Engelbart ran a 90 minute tech demo at a San Francisco conference. This “mother of all demos” introduced the world to the computer mouse, windows, hypertext, and collaborative document editors.
When asked why we have no proof of extraterrestrial life, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard joked that Martians were already among us… they just called themselves Hungarians.
A quine is a computer program that outputs its own source code. An entrant in the 1994 International Obfuscated C Code Contest created the smallest quine possible.
The Nintendo video game character Mario has gone through a number of name changes throughout the years – including, controversially, whether he has a surname or not.
In binary, 010 is equal to 2. But what if it were 3 instead?
NASA lost contact with the space probe Deep Impact in 2013 because of a single software bug.
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.