Mac, ENIAC or UNIVAC: The Computer History Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Computers are so much a part of our daily lives that it's sometimes hard to believe that only 60 years ago, they were rare, massive machines that required 10 men to run. How much do you know about the history of computing?

George Stibitz invented a machine called the CNC and performed the first remote-access computing demonstration on it in 1940. What does CNC stand for?

CNC stands for "complex number calculator." Stibitz designed it for Bell Telephone Laboratories.


In 1943, computer engineers at MIT embarked on an eight-year project to design a flight simulator for the U.S. Navy. What was the project called?

Project Whirlwind was completed in 1951, but the Navy never really used the simulator -- the Air Force ended up taking it over.


The Whirlwind debuted on this TV show hosted by Edward R. Murrow.

Murrow interviewed developer Jay Forrester on 'See It Now' in 1951. The computer screen read 'Hello Mr. Murrow.'


How much floor space did the ENIAC computer, unveiled in 1946, take up?

The ENIAC was 1,000 times faster than its competitors and covered 1,000 square feet.


What was the first commercially produced computer?

The U.S. Navy was the first customer for the ERA 1101, which was introduced in 1950.


This computer, which was used at the U.S. Census Bureau, was the first well-known commercial computer.

The UNIVAC I, manufactured by Remington Rand in the early '50s, cost about $1 million a pop.


CBS News used a UNIVAC computer on Nov. 4, 1952, to predict the outcome of this presidential race.

Opinion polls had Stevenson winning in a landslide, but the UNIVAC correctly predicted an Eisenhower victory in 1952.


Which of the games below made its debut first?

A group of MIT students developed SpaceWar! for the DEC PDP-1 computer in the early 1960s.


Two professors at this college developed the BASIC programming language in 1964.

Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny worked at Dartmouth.


In what year was the first e-mail sent?

In 1971, programmer Ray Tomlinson sent out the first test e-mail over ARPANET. He claims it was 'something like 'QWERTYUIOP.'


Who designed the Apple I?

Steve Wozniak was the primary designer on the Apple I, which debuted to much fanfare in 1976.


What video game did the Apple II come with?

Wozniak had designed Breakout for Atari, so he adapted it for the Apple II.


What was the first portable computer?

The Osborne I, released in 1981, weighed 24 pounds and sold for $1,795. It had a 5-inch screen.


What's the best-selling computer model of all time?

The Commodore 64 was in production from 1982 to 1993 -- according to, more than 17 million units were sold.


This computer language, which controlled a mechanical 'turtle,' was developed for children.

LOGO was originally a drawing program designed for kids.


Microsoft distributed 450,000 disks of this new product in the November 1983 issue of 'PC World' magazine.

Microsoft really went all-out with its marketing of Word in 1983.


What was the first computer with graphical user interface?

The Apple Lisa, introduced in 1983, had a hefty price tag ($10,000) and was ultimately a big dud.


Who designed the Linux operating system?

Finnish student Linus Torvalds released the open-source Linux system to some Usenet news groups in 1991.


This groundbreaking ultraviolent computer game was released in 1993.

Doom, with its innovative 3-D graphics and first-person shooting, helped spawn an enormous gaming subculture.


What was the original name of Yahoo when the company was founded in 1994?

Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo called it 'Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web.' Not so catchy.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!