Trivia - Fred Brooks

At Planet Mainframe, we’ve been marking the 60th anniversary of the mainframe by celebrating the lives of influential mainframes of the past and present. This week, we’re turning our attention to a twentieth-century mainframe icon—Fred Brooks.

Brooks was a luminary in the field of computer science, and his life was marked by pioneering contributions and transformative insights. Born in 1931, Brooks earned degrees in physics and mathematics before obtaining his Ph.D. in computer science. He began his professional career at IBM and later transitioned to academia, where he continued to make profound contributions to software engineering, notably through his landmark book “The Mythical Man-Month,” which remains a cornerstone text in the field.

His insights into software development methodologies, project management, and the complexities of large-scale systems have left an indelible mark on the discipline. 

Take our quiz and see how much you know about this mainframe legend!

1. Fred Brooks was born in which US state?


2. In what year did Fred Brooks receive the Turing Award for his contributions to computer science?


3. Fred Brooks was the project manager for which legendary computer system?


4. Fred Brooks coined the term “No Silver Bullet” to refer to the idea that there is no single solution to what problem in software engineering?


5. At which university did Fred Brooks serve as the chair of the Department of Computer Science?


6. Fred Brooks led the development of which programming language during his time at IBM?


7. What prestigious award did Fred Brooks receive in 2004 for his book “The Mythical Man-Month”?


8. In what year was Fred Brooks elected to the National Academy of Engineering?


9. Fred Brooks served as a consultant for which famous software project?


Sonja Soderlund is an Oregon-based B2B freelance writer. Whether writing about mainframe computers, educational technology, or sustainable retail, she strives to bring clarity to complex issues. Connect with her at or LinkedIn.

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