Test Your Nerd Knowledge — May 24, 2022

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

  1. What popular electronics company was founded in 1969, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by Ed Roberts and Forrest Mims?
  2. Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron are the top three manufacturers of what computer hardware component?
  3. In 1945, John von Neumann created the Von Neumann Architecture. What was it?

And here are the answers:

  1. Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). MITS was formed in 1969 by Roberts and Mims at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base. They decided to use their electronics background to produce small kits for model rocket hobbyists. The business moved from model rockets to calculator and test equipment kits, and eventually to basic computers, including the groundbreaking Altair 8800, a machine that is recognized today as the spark that ignited the microcomputer revolution.
  2. DRAM. Dynamic Random Access Memory, or DRAM, can have a big impact on the functionality of your PC. It’s also a big business, with the global DRAM chip market totaling over $15 billion in 2021. SK Hynix is an example of a company with a strong presence in production of DRAM chips, as well as traditional RAM and SRAM offerings. It is well known that the primary memory of a computer is called RAM, with the two most used forms of modern RAM being static RAM (SRAM) and DRAM, a type of volatile memory which, unlike non-volatile flash memory, loses data quickly when cut off from a power supply. Compared to other varieties of volatile memory, DRAM is relatively structurally simple. SK Hynix garnered 27% of the DRAM market in 2021.
  3. A design for a digital electronic computer. It all seems very basic now but imagine how many minds were blown when Hungarian-born Neumann János Lajos came to America, changed his name to John von Neumann, and introduced the Von Neumann Architecture, also known as the Princeton Architecture. It was nothing less than a design for what all modern computers eventually became: a processing unit with arithmetic logic, memory that stores data, and input and output mechanisms. Von Neumann was a true genius, with expertise in the fields of mathematics, physics, statistics, and quantum mechanics. He also worked as a nuclear physicist in World War II, as a member of the team that developed the Manhattan Project.