10 Amazing Facts About the World of Computers

March 1, 2023

By Radha Maithili Sekharamantry

First Video Game Ever

A physicist named William Higinbotham invented the first video game in 1958. The game, called ‘Tennis for Two’, was played on an oscilloscope and consisted of a dot representing a tennis ball and two lines representing tennis rackets.

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First Smiley

Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist, invented the first emoticon [:-)] in 1982 in a message board post. He proposed using the symbol in online discussions to indicate a joke or humorous comment. The symbol quickly became popular as a means of conveying tone and emotion in text-based communication.

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Computer That can Defeat a Human

The first computer to defeat a human in a game of chess is the deep blue computer–IBM supercomputer, which defeated Garry Kasporov, the world’s best chess player (at the time), in 1997.

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World’s Computer Bug #1 is a Real Bug

The first computer bug is a real bug. In 1947, a moth got stuck in a relay of the Harvard Mark II computer, causing it to malfunction. It was Grace Murray Hopper who found the moth and coined the term ‘bug’.

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‘Love Worm’ That Caused Widespread Damage

The first computer virus to have infected millions of computers in 2000, causing widespread damage is ‘ILOVEYOU’. A man named Onel de Guzman from Hong Kong created it to steal Internet access passwords because he couldn't afford one. 

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Ada Lovelace, World’s First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, created the first algorithm designed to be processed by a machine. In the mid-1800s, she collaborated with Charles Babbage on his proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

Image Source: E.Le Morvan, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Archie, the First Successful Search Engine

The first successful search engine, called Archie, was created in 1990 by a postgraduate student named Alan Emtage at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It was designed to help users find files on FTP servers and paved the way for modern search engines like Google.

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Max Mathews, the World’s First Computer Musician

The first computer-generated music was created in 1957 by Max Mathews, a researcher at Bell Labs. He used an IBM 704 computer to generate a 17-second piece of music called ‘The Bicycle Built for Two’.

Image Source: vonguard from Oakland, Nmibia, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Very First Mouse was Made of Wood

Douglas Engelbart invented the first computer mouse in 1964. It was made of wood and had a circuit board and two metal wheels. The wheels measured the movement of the mouse and translated it into motion on screen.

Image source: Michael Hicks from Saint Paul, MN, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

'Brain’, the First PC Virus

While attempting to protect their medical software from piracy, two Pakistani brothers created the first PC virus. This virus, known as 'Brain,' hid a small copyright message in the boot sector of floppy disc and spread to computers, destroying memory and slowing down hard drives.

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