CIS 1.0/Biomedical Computing
Fall 2006
HW Unit G


  1. For this assignment, you will answer the questions below, both Part I and Part II. Type in the answers using Notepad. Remember to add your name at the top of the file
  2. Save the file and name it with your last name followed by the .txt extension. For example, my file would be called parsons.txt.

The assignment is due on Wednesday December 13, 2006.



Part I. History of Computing

Write the answer to all these questions in your Notepad file.

I. Pre World War I

  1. Blaise Pascal is considered one of the forerunners of computer science because of his invention of a machine called the Pascaline. (see picture).
    1. When did Pascal live?
    2. What was the purpose of the Pascaline?

  2. In the early nineteenth century, Jacquard invented a special type of loom. What was special about Jacquard's loom?

  3. Charles Babbage is considered to be a pioneer of computing for his development of the Difference Engine (see picture) and his ideas for creating an Analytical Engine.
    How did Babbage envision the Analytical Engine?

  4. Lady Ada Lovelace is known as the "first computer programmer".
    1. What type of programs did Lady Lovelace write?
    2. What was named after Lady Lovelace?

  5. In 1884, Hollerith developed a punched card reader.
    For what purpose did Hollerith design his punched cards?

II. Towards Computers as we Know Them

  1. Here you will find a very brief synopsis of Alan Turing's contributions. And at this site you will be able to read a short biography of him.
    1. Who introduced the idea of a stored-program digital computer (like the ones we use today?
    2. Who built the first operational computer?
    3. Who founded the field of Artificial Intellgience?
    4. How did Turing die?

  2. Here is a "virtual exhibit" on the ENIAC, one of the earliest modern computers.
    1. What motivated work on the ENIAC?
    2. How many vacuum tubes did the ENIAC contain?
    3. How much faster was the ENIAC than other devices that existed then?

  3. At the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers timeline you will find answers to all these questions.
    1. In 1945, the term "debugging" was first used. By whom? What did it mean?
    2. In 1969, Ritchie and Thompson of Bell Laboratories developed an operating system. What was it called?
    3. In 1971, IBM developed the first "floppy" diskettes. How large were they?
    4. 1975 saw the introduction of the first mass produced personal computer, the MITS Altair 8800. How much did it cost? How much memory did it have?

III. The "Modern" Era

The Intel Corporation has been crucially involved in the development of modern high-speed computing. Go to their Intel Hall of Fame site and follow some of the links to answer these questions.
  1. When was the first microprocessor produced by Intel?

  2. What is the basic building block of a microprocessor? (Hint)

  3. How many of these basic components were in Intel's first microprocessor?

  4. How many times faster, in terms of "clock speed," is the Pentium 4 than the first microprocessor?

  5. What does "Moore's Law" say? (To find the answer to this question, type "Moore's Law" into the search box in the blue area on the upper right of the page.) In what sense is it a "Law"?

IV. The Internet

Today, we tend to think of the Internet and the World Wide Web as being synonymous. In fact, the World Wide Web is a relative newcomer to the Internet, and the original ARPAnet network was hardly "world wide". Find the answers to the questions below in Hobbe's Internet Timeline:
  1. How many sites were on the original ARPAnet in 1969?

  2. When did research on internetworking begin at ARPA?
  3. When was email invented?
  4. How many years later was the World Wide Web released?

  5. One of the factors that contributed to the growth of the Internet was the open quality of the research on internetworking. All of the original Internet research reports, called RFCs, were made publicly available. You can access most of them through the RFC Hypertext Archive.
    1. Who wrote RFC #1?
    2. When was it written?
    3. What was it about?
    4. What is the most recent RFC you can find? (Note that they're are not numbered exactly chronologically! But you don't have to find the most recent one, just one that's close.)
    5. When was it written?

  6. You can read about the Internet 2 in the Internet 2 FAQ.
    1. What is Internet 2?
    2. How might Internet 2 (eventually) affect your life?

(6 points in total)

PART II. Plagiarism and balance

  1. Plagiarism
    • Go to and read the definition of plagiarism.
    • Follow the link on the bottom of the page that says:
      Let's see if you understand: Click here to take a short quiz.

    • Take the quiz. There are 5 questions on the quiz. Write down your answer to each quiz question.
    (2 points)
  2. Balance on the Internet

    Find an article on the Internet that you think presents a valid point of view. Put the URL in your Notepad file, and describe why you think that what this article says is valid.

    As with the article we discussed in class, I don't want you to concentrate on so much on the subject matter, but on the features of the article that make us think it should be taken seriously.

    Now repeat the exercise for an article that you think does not present a valid point of view, this time describing the features that mean it should not be taken seriously.

    (2 points)