So you think you know the IBM mainframe? Try our quiz

On the 50th anniversary of the Big Iron, see how well you know this iconic computing workhorse

IBM System/360 mainframe

When it was announced 50 years ago on April 7 the IBM System/360 mainframe was immediately popular, receiving more than 1,000 orders in the first month. Development of the product family was so rapid that some of the higher end models announced were never made because better ones replaced them before they could be built. The product line provided a huge range of prices and performance so there was an appropriate size for virtually any business need. To note this anniversary of one of the most significant technology achievements ever, here is a short quiz about this iconic product. Keep track of your score and check at the end to see how well you did.

System/360

What did the first System/360 mainframes cost?

a)    $57,000 to $2.6 million
b)    $63,000 to $3 million
c)    $133,000 to $5.5 million
d)    $500,000 to $8.8 million

System/360

What did the first System/360 mainframes cost?

c)    $133,000 to $5.5 million

System/360

How much memory did the 2361 Core Storage unit for System/360 have?

a)    900KB
b)    1.05MB
c)    15.8MB
d)    30.05MB

System/360

How much memory did the 2361 Core Storage unit for System/360 have?

b)    1.05MB

System/360

IBM announced the System/360 in April 1964, but the first one shipped when?

a)    August 1964    
b)    November 1964
c)    June 1965
d)    April 1966

System/360

IBM announced the System/360 in April 1964, but the first one shipped when?

c)    June 1965

System/360

In relation to System/360, Solid Logic Technology was IBM’s name for what?

a)    A subsidiary that wrote the first mainframe operating system
b)    The mainframe itself
c)    The first mainframe application developer’s kit
d)    Mainframe circuitry packaged in ceramics

System/360

In relation to System/360, Solid Logic Technology was IBM’s name for what?

d)    Mainframe circuitry packaged in ceramics

360

What’s the significance of 360 in the product name?

a)    It’s the number of degrees in a circle representing the ability to run all types of applications
b)    It followed prototypes named 160 and 260
c)    It represents a full revolution, and the line was considered revolutionary
d)    It was the lucky number of project chief Fred Brooks

360

What’s the significance of 360 in the product name?

a)    It’s the number of degrees in a circle representing the ability to run all types of applications.

System/360

Which was an innovation introduced in the System/360?

a)    Random access memory
b)    Virtual memory
c)    Drum memory
d)    The eight-bit byte

 System/360

Which was an innovation introduced in the System/360?

d)    The eight-bit byte

System/360

Who bought the first System/360?

a)    McDonnell Aircraft
b)    American Express
c)    NASA
d)    NSA

System/360

Who bought the first System/360?

a)    McDonnell Aircraft

System/360

The System/360 product line fixed what problem IBM had with its other eight lines?

a)    Incompatibility with each other
b)    Too heavy for most buildings
c)    Too noisy
d)    Too hot

System/360

The System/360 product line fixed what problem IBM had with its other eight lines?

a)    Incompatibility with each other

System/360

What did it cost to develop System/360 in 1960s dollars?

a)    $1.5 million
b)    $25 million
c)    $150 million
d)    $2.5 billion

System/360

What did it cost to develop System/360 in 1960s dollars?

d)    $2.5 billion

Series/360

The Jeopardy-playing computer is named for IBM pioneer Tom Watson, who, when the Series/360 was announced, was

a)    President
b)    Chairman and CEO
c)    Chairman emeritus
d)    dead

Series/360

The Jeopardy-playing computer is named for IBM pioneer Tom Watson, who, when the Series/360 was announced was

d)    dead

How’d you do?

0-2 – Counting on fingers
3-5 – Using an abacus
6-8 – Exploiting parallel computing
9-10 – Pioneering optical computing