Mid-term Exam (with answers) 2010 Spring


1. What does the so-called "ubiquitous computing" mean ?

(Visions book: page 24, and TV)

Computer chips become so cheap that they are installed everywhere for all different kind of purpose.


2. Describe Moore's Law.

Number of transistors can be build on the same area of semiconductor chip doubles every 18 months.


3. What drives Moore's Law ?

(Visions book : page 29)

The ability of mankind to make transistors smaller and smaller.


4. What are the "three phases of computing" ?

phase 1 : many people use one computer

phase 2 : one person use one "personal" computer

phase 3 : one person use many computers


5. What are the three scientific revolutions of the 20th century ?

Quantum Revolution

Computer (or IT, Information Technology) Revolution

Bio-molecular Revolution


6. How to build emotion into a machine ?

(Visions book: page 91)

Build "focuser" for the machine to direct all (or most) recourses onto something. This can be triggered by external stimulation.


7. Dalai Lama met with scientists at the New York Academy of Sciences to explore the link between science and religion. He was asked if he was familiar with work on artificial intelligence. When he said he was, he was asked if an artificial intelligence being was a reincarnated being. What did Dalai Lama replied ?

(Visions book : page 96)

"There, there! When you have such a machine and put it there before me, then we will have this discussion again!"

[By the way, Author Turing defined AI exactly like that. (The problem of "can a machine think".)]


8. In the film "The 13th Floor", what is there on the 13th floor ?

Many computers together running a simulated world with people's spirits living within.


9. Explain how DNA code is used to build proteins.

Double strand of DNA is partially un-winded to expose A, T, C, G codes, an enzyme copy that small section of code into RNA (called messenger RNA, mRNA).

mRNA come out of cell nucleus and was captured by enzyme ribosome, ribosome will also takes in two tRNA which one end is triple code and another end one amino acid, when triple code on tRNA matches that on mRNA, amino acid on tRNA is linked into a longer chain of amino acids from from previous tRNA.

A long linear chain of amino acid will fold up to form protein which has unique 3D structure in water, the protein then has its unique biological activity and function.


10. What is gene ?

A gene a section of code that produce one protein. (There are estimated 60 thousand of genes in human body.)