Know your computer history? Take the quiz

A student smiles while using one of first terminals in the Computer Science Department, the Digital VT 100. Today, a similar terminal is on display in the department’s historical area.

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.

Learn more about the 50th celebration at UWL.

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.)

Computers revolutionized our way of life. What started as giant machines in World War II-era laboratories eventually became small enough to attach to a wrist watch, phone or Fitbit. Pioneers at UWL saw the computer revolution coming. Image courtesy of Murphy Library Special Collections.
Correct! Wrong!

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:

Tom Gay, Burroughs 2500 operator. At the line printer of the B2500 system. Cover, The La Crosse Alumnus, Winter 1972.
Correct! Wrong!

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?

Image courtesy of Murphy Library Special Collections.
Correct! Wrong!

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?

Correct! Wrong!

The IBM PC was not introduced until 1981. Source:

5. What was the first building that housed the Computer Science Department at UWL?

Image courtesy of Murphy Library Special Collections.
Correct! Wrong!

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?

Correct! Wrong!

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.

By Rama [CeCILL ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (], from Wikimedia Commons
Correct! Wrong!

It weighed about 16 pounds. Today’s MacBook Air weighs about 3 pounds.

8. Pong was one of the first arcade video games. What year was Pong introduced?

By Chris Rand [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons
Correct! Wrong!

9. Who was the first faculty member hired in the Computer Science Department?

Image courtesy of Murphy Library Special Collections.
Correct! Wrong!

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.

10. The start of the internet can be traced back to what president and what historic event?

By secretlondon123 (Flickr: analogue modem) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Correct! Wrong!

Test your knowledge-computers

Wow! You know your stuff! Are you sure you're not a computer?

Not too bad. Did you study computers at UWL?

Not a pro, but you know a thing or two about computers.

Meh. You've got a bit to learn. [By Jonathan [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons]

Have you ever used a computer?

Are you living under a rock without wifi? How did you even take this online quiz?