1972 Computer Merit Badge Requirements

25 August 2010 at 8:22PM Leave a comment

The Scout Handbook in use when I joined was the eighth edition from 1972. I think this is the infamous “rat bite” book from the seventies. Not much was good in the seventies. I shared the requirements for the Computer Merit Badge with a excellent software engineer who holds a MS in Computer Science, and who also happens to be my wife. “That’s a lot for 1972!”, she said. She was impressed.

Here what a Scout had to do:

1. Do the following:

(a) Give a short history of computers. Describe the major parts of a computer system. Give four different uses of computers.

(b) Describe the differences between analog and digital computers. Tell the use of each.

(c) Explain some differences between special- and general-purpose machines.

2. Do the following:

(a) Tell what a program is, and how it is developed.

(b) Explain the difference between an assembler and a compiler. Tell where each might be used. Describe a source and an object program.

(c) Use a flowchart diagram to show the steps needed to set up a camp.

3. Do ONE of the following:

(a) Prepare flowcharts to find out the average attendance and dues paid at the last five troop meetings.

(b) Prepare flowcharts to work out a simple arithmetic problem. Explain to your counselor how this program could be stored in a computer. Tell how it could be used again.

4. Do the following:

(a) Name four input/output devices for computers. Explain the use of two of them in a system.

(b) Explain the Hollerith code. Show how your name and address would be punched on a card.

5. Tell the meaning of six of the following:
a. memory
b. bits
c. on-line
d. bytes
e. microsecond
f. address
g. channel
h. interrupt
i. register
j. console
k. central processing unit

6. Tell the meaning and use of 12 of the following:

a. business data processing
b. information retrieval
c. simulation
d. scientific processing
e. floating point
f. truncation
g. fixed point
h. accuracy
i. input
j. record
k. output
l. file
m. software
n. instruction
o. hardware
p. indexing
q. loop
r. subroutine
s. real time
t. time sharing
u. cybernetics

7. Visit a computer installation. Study how it works.

8. Explain what each of the following does:

a. design engineer, customer engineer, programmer, analyst, operator, salesman
b. Read two pieces of information about computers. Describe what you read.
c. Describe jobs in the computer field.

Could you earn this merit badge today?

Other events from 1972 include:

  • Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs invented the C programming language
  • Intel developed their first processor, the 4004.
  • Atari releases the first commercial video game, Pong 11/29/72
  • The compact disc is invented in the United States.
  • Cray Research Inc. is founded.

The 2006 version of the Computer Merit Badge requirements can be found on the US Scouting Service Project.


Entry filed under: Random Musings. Tags: , , .

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