Friday, September 17, 2010

Where did the term “software bug” come from?

Recently one of my co-workers gave a presentation on software bugs.  Typically “bugs” are a negative thing but here is story that will help you to keep it simple during your bug search.

So where did the term software “bug” come from?

Back in the 1940’s the first computer was built for the military to calculate ballistic trajectories.
It weighed 30 tons, took up 15,000 sqf, had 19,000 vacuum tubes, 100’s of mechanical relays, and cost $500,000 to build.  To put this into perspective, a common calculator you use today is more powerful than this machine.

When the machine started to have errors an inspection was done and Admiral Grace Hopper team found a moth in relay #70 as she noted in her lab notebook (and she even tapped the moth to the notebook page!). 

“From then on, when anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it.”   - Admiral Grace Hopper

So the next time you stumble upon a bug think of Grace and that moth!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story. I was lucky enough to here Grace Hopper tell this story herself .


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