Behold! The questions (and answers!) to our 3rd edition of the Cord Tech
Pub Quiz. Our largest turn out so far, we had four teams duking it out
for the crown.
Round 1: Name that Nerd!
Included in this pic are assorted techies. Our Round 1 question was to
try to name them all!
Round 2: CS Lore
Harvard is famous for its Intro to Computer Science course. What’s the
4-character course identifier?
Founded in 1947, this professional organization is the world’s largest
scientific and educational computing society. Originally called
Eastern Association for Computing Machinery, by what initials-only
name is it commonly known today?
Long before “crypto” had anything to do with blockchains or NFTs, it
was shorthand for this word — the science of secrets.
The ancient astronomer and mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa
al-Khwarizmi gave us many things — including one of the most common
words used in all of computer science. What common CS word is derived
from the name Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi?
These days, the prefix “cyber” means whatever you want it to mean. But
it’s actually a shortening of an older concept which referred to
decision making systems based circular causal feedback. What concept
does the prefix “cyber-” originate from?
There exists a noteworthy and very inefficient sorting algorithm based
on the idea of randomly permuting a list and then checking to see if
it’s sorted. What is the name of this algorithm?
2pts — Computer science as an academic discipline is less than 100
years old. What year was the first computer science diploma offered?
What university offered it?
Originally published in 1985, what computer science text book is
sometimes referred to as “The Wizard Book” due to its cover, which
includes a wizard casting a spell?
In 1968, this international organization held the first ever Software
Engineering Conference. What’s the name of the organization?
What famous computer science text book author is known for sending out
actual, cashable checks to anyone who can find errors in his work?
Round 3: Operating Systems
When a program has exhausted all the available RAM in its parent OS,
it will crash with an “OOM” error. What does OOM stand for?
This bit of footwear-inspired code loads the main operating system
into memory on system start.
The term “segfault” refers to a type of crash where a program attempts
to access what type of resource that it doesn’t have permission to
The name Unix is a pun, riffing on the name of a predecessor operating
system. What was the name of the earlier OS?
Now discontinued, there once existed a variant of Unix developed at UC
Berkeley that went commonly by what three letter initialism?
Before MS-DOS, there was QDOS. What did QDOS stand for?
Often looked at as the worst ever release of the Windows operating
system, what is the name of Microsoft’s biggest flop which was
released publicly in 2007?
Many operating systems support a special kind of interprocess
communication where data flows directly from one process to another
without touching the filesystem. What is this operating system feature
Many operating systems feature a file to which any data you write is
immediately discarded. What’s the name of this file?
In Linux, if you want a process to run even after the terminal is
closed, you can start the process using the utility nohup what does
nohup stand for?
Round 4: Nerd Math!
How many bits are in a nibble?
How many bytes are in a mebibyte?
Assuming 1GB/s SSD, which is faster — reading a 4k block randomly from
your SSD or reading 1MB sequentially from RAM?
2pts: Which is bigger: Big Omega or Big-O?
Without using a calculator or Google, what is 2^23 ?
In 2021, NASDAQ’s computer systems couldn’t handle the price of
Berkshire/Hathaway because of their unsigned integer representation —
The share price was £413,200.0000. What size of uint were they using?
Most nerds know that the number 86400 means something special with
respect to a single day. What’s number has the same relationship with
What is 0o45 (Octal) + 0x61 (Hex) in binary?
empty array  (with the plus arithmetic operator)?
What is the Hamming distance between the 8-bit unsigned integers 170
Sudden Death Round!
Question: What is the character code for the digit 9?
Zero Cool – no other answer is acceptable
algorithm (via Greek alogrisms)
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Out of Memory
RAM / Memory
Quick-and-Dirty Operating System
/dev/null (though $NULL is acceptable for Windows programmers)
4k from the SSD (150ns) vs. 1MB from RAM (250ms)
Big-O is the worst case performance (Big Omega is best case)
Answer: 57 in ASCII / U+0039 in Unicode – either is acceptable
Feb 18th, 2022
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