Test Your Nerd Knowledge! — Jan 4, 2021

Here’s a review of this week’s questions:

  1. In 1972, a software program called “The Reaper” was created. What was the program designed to do?
  2. What is the name of the technology company founded by Leo Beranek and Richard Boltin in Cambridge, MA in 1948 ?
  3. First released for consumers in 1997, this method of connectivity involved a committee called 802.11, which led to the creation of IEEE802.11. What is this technology currently known as?

And here are the answers:

  1. Answer: First Antivirus Software. In 1971, Bob Thomas developed the first computer worm, dubbed the “Creeper.” The Creeper would jump from one machine to another on the ARPAnet, the early version of computer networking. Creeper was not designed with malicious intent; rather, Thomas was developing a resource-sharing capability that would allow users to run applications on another computer experiencing less processing load. Thomas’ colleague, Ray Tomlinson, designed “the Reaper.” The Reaper moved across the ARPAnet network, detected and removed the self-replicating Creeper program. The Creeper and the Reaper are considered to be the first virus and antivirus
  2. Answer: BBN Technologies. Bolt and Beranek were MIT professors, and the original business was acoustic consulting. Robert Newman joined the partnership in 1950 and the company name was changed to Bolt Beranek and Newman, abbreviated to BBN. In 1957 the company began to move into the computing R&D area, particularly focusing on man-machine interactions. By about 1960, the computer part of the company was as significant as the acoustics part. Since that time, BBN scientists and engineers have amassed a substantial collection of innovations and patented solutions, including the first person-to-person email, speech recognition, and terrestrial wideband network.
  3. Answer: Wi-Fi. When local area networks (LANs) first began to emerge as potential business tools in the late 1970s, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) realized that there was a need to define certain LAN standards. To accomplish this task, the IEEE launched what became known as Project 802, named for the year and month it began (1980, February). A committee was formed to establish standards for local area network communication. The name Wi-Fi, commercially used at least as early as August 1999, was coined by the brand-consulting firm Interbrand. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Interbrand to create a name that was a little catchier than ‘IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence. Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name “Wi-Fi,” has stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a pun on the word “hi-fi.”