The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was Claude Shannon fascinated with?

2. How did the drummers of Africa differentiate between similar words?

3. What theory was not only useful in practical communications, but had applications in psychology, biology, and physics?

4. How were phonetic sounds represented in language?

5. The invention of what technology would make Shannon's theory of a computing machine practical?

Short Essay Questions

1. How was binary code of 0s and 1s which is the foundation for computing first conceived and by whom?

2. While working on plans for this "analytical engine," Babbage struck an acquaintance with what young woman?

3. What culture developed the earliest known method of writing language with the use of pictures to represent things?

4. In modern times, what innovation has had the most impact on language?

5. Why did Ada Lovelace publish her mathematical arguments anonymously?

6. What are the two "wordbooks" that Gleick refers to in this chapter?

7. Who invented the telegraph and what is its fundamental functionality?

8. What were the two stages of a "bit" as conceived by Claude Shannon?

9. How did the development of the written language assist Greek philosophers in advancing mankind?

10. What advanced form of communication was beginning to emerge in the 1840s?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What kind of "telegraph" was invented by two French brothers and how did it function. What was the downside of this invention? Why was human error a factor in this process?

Essay Topic 2

What advanced machine did Charles Babbage envision that would be superior to his difference engine? What was Babbage's relationship with Ada Lovelace? Why was she reluctant to be public about her skills in mathematics? How did Babbage encourage her?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the work of Charles Babbage. What was the purpose of his machine, the "difference engine" and how did it function? What contribution did the Babylonians make to mathematics and how was it relevant to knowledge sharing?

(see the answer keys)

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