Origin of Software Bugs

Thought this was interesting when I heard this story at a conference recently so I thought we would post it out for all you software developers out there!

In 1947, Grace Murray Hopper was working on the Harvard UniversityMark II Aiken Relay Calculator (a primitive computer).
The 74-year-old captain, who is still on active duty, was a pioneer incomputer technology during World War II. At the C.W. Post Center of Long Island University, Hopper told a group of Long Island public school administrators that the first computer “bug” was a real bug — a moth. At Harvard one August night in 1945 1947, Hopper and her associates were working on the “granddaddy” of modern computers, the Mark I Mark II. “Things were going badly; there was something wrong in one of the circuits of the long glass-enclosed computer,” she said. “Finally, someone located the trouble spot and, using ordinary tweezers, removed the problem, a two-inch moth. From then on, when anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it.

First Bug Report (literally a BUG)

First Bug Report (literally a BUG)

Hopper said that when the veracity of her story was questioned recently, “I referred them to my 1945 1947 log book, now in the collection of Naval Surface Weapons Center, and they found the remains of that moth taped to the page in question.”

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1 Comment for this entry

  • justin, September 24th, 2010 on 11:19 am

    Couldn’t help but post this. Never would have thought this was the origin but found it so interesting and thought some other techie folks out there might enjoy it too!