UWL Computer Science Department celebrates 50 years Oct. 5
“Imagine a computer creating works of art, writing a symphony or analyzing the word patterns and sentence structure of Shakespearean verse. These intriguing uses of computer technology could become reality at UW-La Crosse in the near future.” So went an article in The La Crosse Alumnus magazine in winter 1972 as the “computer revolution” hit campus.
UWL’s Computer Science Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary Friday, Oct. 5, with an alumni panel, social and dinner. Alumni, emeriti faculty, current faculty and friends of the department are invited to celebrate computer science alumni and the start of the second oldest Computer Science Department in the UW System.
The department started with a visionary UWL faculty member, the late John “Jack” Storlie, who saw a need for computers both administratively and academically on campus. He convinced the administration of the need to purchase a computer and eventually created a department.
Take the quiz below to see how much you know about computer science history — both at UWL and as the computer revolution took hold around the world.
1. Primarily in what decade did the computer revolution hit the campus (And by that we mean enrollment in computer-related courses was climbing, a minor was offered in computer science and a major started.)
In January 1973, a four-year degree program in the computer science was approved by the Board of Regents. An article in the Winter 1972 La Crosse Alumnus, “Computers on campus” explains that the “computer revolution that is affecting almost every field has hit the campus in a big way.” The article goes on to share growing enrollment in the computer science minor. Source: Winter 1972, The La Crosse Alumnus, pg. 3.
2. One of the early computers on campus was the Burroughs 2500. The campus used this machine to do all of the following except:
3. John “Jack” Storlie was the visionary leader who started the Computer Science Department at UWL and the Academic Computing Center. A scholarship is also named after him. Prior to his computer ventures, he was a professor in what field?
4. In the 1970s the first set of personal computers were small and inexpensive enough for individuals to purchase. Which of the following was NOT one of the first personal computers?
The IBM PC was not introduced until 1981. Source: https://www.britannica.com/technology/Apple-II
5. What was the first building that housed the Computer Science Department at UWL?
A. Graff Main Hall. The Computer Science Department was situated in five different buildings. The very first year — 1968 — it was located in Graff Main Hall before moving to Wing Communication Center in 1969. It eventually moved to Wimberly Hall, Morris Hall and then to Wing Technology Center where it is currently located.
6. In the 1960s a new TV show was introduced that featured voice-recognition, artificial intelligence, handheld computing and communications, human computer interaction, and machine-supported medical diagnosis. These interfaces have inspired much of the technology we use today. What was the show called?
7. Macintosh released its first portable computer in 1989. PCWorld magazine rated it the 17th worst tech product ever made. Which of the following is FALSE about the Macintosh Portable.
It weighed about 16 pounds. Today’s MacBook Air weighs about 3 pounds. http://time.com/3398919/apple-first-portable-macintosh/
8. Pong was one of the first arcade video games. What year was Pong introduced?
9. Who was the first faculty member hired in the Computer Science Department?
John “Jack” Storlie started the Computer Science Department and Kenneth Lindner was the chancellor from 1971-79. Florence Wing was the first librarian on campus in 1909.