[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: potato bugs...(ugh)

Oliver Elphick <olly@lfix.co.uk> writes:

> As I understand it, program bugs are so called because one of the very
> first computer errors was caused by an insect getting into the circuitry.

That happened, but isn't the origin of the term.


T. In 1947 a moth was found in a relay of the Harvard Mark II machine,
   and taped into the logbook as the "first actual case of bug being

T. The log book used to be in building 1200 "K-lab" of the Naval
   Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division. Now at the Smithsonian

F. Grace Hopper coined the term "bug" as a result of this event.
T. Grace Hopper was a programmer for the Mark II and often told the moth story.
T. "Bug" was used to mean a design defect as far back as Edison's time.


  During her work with Mark II, Hopper was credited with coining the
  term "bug" in reference to a glitch in the machinery. This story is
  apparently a bit of computer folk-lore, however, as the term had
  already been used by Harvard personnel for several years to describe
  problems with their computers. It is the case that she and her team
  of programmers did find a moth which flew through an open window and
  into one of Mark II's relays, temporarily shutting down the
  system. The moth was removed and pasted into a logbook [Photo of
  that bug]. At that time the use of the word "bug" referred to
  problems with the hardware. In the mid 1950's, Hopper extended the
  meaning of the term "debug" to include removing programming errors.

I'm sure more info could be dredged up, but I'm lazy.

Alan Shutko <ats@acm.org> - In a variety of flavors!
BLISS is ignorance.

Reply to: