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Mon Sep 9, 2019, 05:41 PM

72 Years Ago Today; The first computer bug discovered when moth found in an electrical relay

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_bug



A software bug is an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. The process of finding and fixing bugs is termed "debugging" and often uses formal techniques or tools to pinpoint bugs, and since the 1950s, some computer systems have been designed to also deter, detect or auto-correct various computer bugs during operations.

Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made in either a program's source code or its design, or in components and operating systems used by such programs. A few are caused by compilers producing incorrect code. A program that contains a large number of bugs, and/or bugs that seriously interfere with its functionality, is said to be buggy (defective). Bugs can trigger errors that may have ripple effects. Bugs may have subtle effects or cause the program to crash or freeze the computer. Other bugs qualify as security bugs and might, for example, enable a malicious user to bypass access controls in order to obtain unauthorized privileges.

Some software bugs have been linked to disasters. Bugs in code that controlled the Therac-25 radiation therapy machine were directly responsible for patient deaths in the 1980s. In 1996, the European Space Agency's US$1 billion prototype Ariane 5 rocket had to be destroyed less than a minute after launch due to a bug in the on-board guidance computer program. In June 1994, a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter crashed into the Mull of Kintyre, killing 29. This was initially dismissed as pilot error, but an investigation by Computer Weekly convinced a House of Lords inquiry that it may have been caused by a software bug in the aircraft's engine-control computer.

In 2002, a study commissioned by the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that "software bugs, or errors, are so prevalent and so detrimental that they cost the US economy an estimated $59 billion annually, or about 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product".

<snip>

History
The Middle English word bugge is the basis for the terms "bugbear" and "bugaboo" as terms used for a monster.

The term "bug" to describe defects has been a part of engineering jargon since the 1870s and predates electronic computers and computer software; it may have originally been used in hardware engineering to describe mechanical malfunctions. For instance, Thomas Edison wrote the following words in a letter to an associate in 1878:

It has been just so in all of my inventions. The first step is an intuition, and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise—this thing gives out and [it is] then that "Bugs"—as such little faults and difficulties are called—show themselves and months of intense watching, study and labor are requisite before commercial success or failure is certainly reached.


Baffle Ball, the first mechanical pinball game, was advertised as being "free of bugs" in 1931. Problems with military gear during World War II were referred to as bugs (or glitches). In the 1940 film, Flight Command, a defect in a piece of direction-finding gear is called a "bug". In a book published in 1942, Louise Dickinson Rich, speaking of a powered ice cutting machine, said, "Ice sawing was suspended until the creator could be brought in to take the bugs out of his darling."

Isaac Asimov used the term "bug" to relate to issues with a robot in his short story "Catch That Rabbit", published in 1944.


A page from the Harvard Mark II electromechanical computer's log, featuring a dead moth that was removed from the device.

The term "bug" was used in an account by computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who publicized the cause of a malfunction in an early electromechanical computer. A typical version of the story is:

In 1946, when Hopper was released from active duty, she joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where she continued her work on the Mark II and Mark III. Operators traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay, coining the term bug. This bug was carefully removed and taped to the log book. Stemming from the first bug, today we call errors or glitches in a program a bug.


Hopper did not find the bug, as she readily acknowledged. The date in the log book was September 9, 1947. The operators who found it, including William "Bill" Burke, later of the Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, Virginia, were familiar with the engineering term and amusedly kept the insect with the notation "First actual case of bug being found." Hopper loved to recount the story. This log book, complete with attached moth, is part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The related term "debug" also appears to predate its usage in computing: the Oxford English Dictionary's etymology of the word contains an attestation from 1945, in the context of aircraft engines.

The concept that software might contain errors dates back to Ada Lovelace's 1843 notes on the analytical engine, in which she speaks of the possibility of program "cards" for Charles Babbage's analytical engine being erroneous:

... an analysing process must equally have been performed in order to furnish the Analytical Engine with the necessary operative data; and that herein may also lie a possible source of error. Granted that the actual mechanism is unerring in its processes, the cards may give it wrong orders.


</snip>


And now you know... the REST of the story.

8 replies, 758 views

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Reply 72 Years Ago Today; The first computer bug discovered when moth found in an electrical relay (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Sep 9 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 9 #1
Dennis Donovan Sep 9 #2
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 9 #3
Dennis Donovan Sep 9 #5
Suburban Warrior Sep 9 #4
SeattleVet Sep 9 #6
Dennis Donovan Sep 9 #7
SeattleVet Sep 9 #8

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 05:52 PM

1. Godzilla vs. Mothra



Godzilla vs Mothra "Mahara Mothra" 2
156,512 views

lovethatdarkness
Published on Dec 1, 2011

A continuing of the first Mahara Mothra in Godzilla vs Mothra. I don't claim or own any of the clip. All rights reserved to Toho Company. Sorry for the shakiness and out of focus parts. Please support official movie release. Movie can be found on novamov.com or netflix. Thank you for watching.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 05:56 PM

2. The old Godzilla / Mothra films are a guilty pleasure of mine

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 05:58 PM

3. CometTV had a Godzilla-thon this weekend. Wait:

It's going on all month! Is this a great country, or what?

GODZILLA STOMPILATION

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 06:20 PM

5. CometTV is one of those awesome free channels on Pluto

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 06:17 PM

4. This was the million dollar question...

...on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" years ago when Regis was hosting.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 06:44 PM

6. I've seen that page...

and had the honor of meeting and hearing Grace Hopper speak two times. Just last week I was looking at a couple of pieces of wire 11.8" long that she gave me. They represent the distance electricity flows in a nanosecond - she handed them out to show how much you were wasting when poor coding (in an era of extremely expensive memory) wasted a nanosecond of CPU time. She had a 'microsecond' with her also...a roll of wire about 984 feet long.

I also have a packet of 'picoseconds' that I received from her after she retired from the Navy and was working as a spokesperson for Digital Equipment Corporation. It's ground black pepper.

What an amazing woman, and wonderful, engaging speaker.

"It's almost always easier to get forgiven than to get permission." (From one of her talks in the late 1980's.)

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Response to SeattleVet (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 07:59 PM

7. I'm a software engineer, and one of the biggest errors is with memory

...with programmatic bad code (causing allocation errors or access violations). Programs are only as good as the code instructions use.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #7)

Mon Sep 9, 2019, 09:26 PM

8. When memory was prohibitively expensive...

If we were programming in machine code we would use unorthodox tricks to save a byte or two, like using a code location as data, or self-modifying code that overwrote sections that had already been used and would not be used again with new code.

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