Computer crashes repeatedly in final 4 minutes of Apollo landingThe MIT team located the source of the error with only two or three hours to spare. In anticipation of a possible abort, Aldrin had insisted that the spacecraft’s rendezvous radar remain turned on. This system pointed upward, allowing it to track Collins in the command module. During the descent, the dial for the rendezvous radar had been turned to the wrong setting. Normally, this shouldn’t have caused a problem. But because of a design defect, every once in a while the system would bombard the computer with unnecessary requests. It was the worst kind of error: erratic, subtly dangerous, and difficult to reproduce.
Soviet system for predicting nuclear war had lots of complex inputs with an arbitrary thresholdHis worries about a surprise attack were amplified by “one peculiar mode of intelligence analysis,” a KGB computer model to measure perceived changes in the “correlation of forces” between the superpowers, according to the review. The computer went online in 1979 to warn Soviet leaders when “deterioration of Soviet power might tempt a US first strike,” the review says. The computer was at the heart of the VRYAN system, according to the review, and thousands of pieces of security and economic data were fed into the machine. The computer model assigned a fixed value of 100 to the United States, and Soviet leaders felt they would be safe from a nuclear first strike as long as they were at least at 60 percent of the United States, and ideally at 70 percent. Reports were sent to the ruling Politburo once a month.
John Nash and Freeman Dyson predict the future of computingGerard, The space futurist, asked John and Freeman about what computers will mean to us in the next 50 years. Freeman said "everyone would have one or more to do many tasks so that humans could spend time doing more important things". That was quite revolutionary at the time. John paused for about a minute and said "Freeman that is ridiculous, computers will be used to calculate better chances to date the pretty girl next door that does not notice you". John was so right.
The United States graduated proportionally fewer computer-science majors in 2011-12 than in 1985-86. Could that really be? We live in an age when techology companies are growing at exponential rates and, in some cases, have resorted to anticompetitive measures in order to retain the best people. So we looked into it. It’s true that the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science in 1985-86 (4.3 percent of the total) was significantly higher than the percentage in 2011-12 (2.6 percent).