The origin of the term “BUG” in computers.

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Resouces

Let me take you back to February, 1944 when Howard Aiken just invented the first digital machine, given the nomenclature of “The IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC)” but universally known as “The Mark I“. After coming home from a hard days’ work Aiken saw a bug creeping in his meal and was quite frightened by its structure so he decided to name all the computer problems as bugs! CRAZY? Well, i think alike. Okay, jokes apart folks.

————————————————————-THE BACKDROP——————————————————————–

Many consider that the commencement of today’s modern computers is the courtesy of Aiken’s intelligence. However let not he be merely accredited for the glory. The team comprised of computing pioneers that included: Clair Lake, Frank Hamilton and Thomas J. Watson with programming virtuosos Richard Milton Block, Robert Campbell, and Grace Hopper.

The Mark I read its instructions from a 24 channel punched paper tape and executed the current instruction and then read in the next one. It had no conditional branch instruction. This meant that complex programs had to be physically long. A loop was accomplished by joining the end of the paper tape containing the program back to the beginning of the tape (literally creating a loop). This required much physical effort and caused many hardware failures.

—————————————————————–THE BODY———————————————————————-

The machine once failed to operate and caused agitation among everyone as no one could diagnose the problem with the computing giant. Two days passed by without anyone knowing the cause of the problem. On the third day, Grace Hopper finally figured out that a moth had landed on a hardware and shorted out the switchboard. Upon removing the moth the computer revived and functioned normally again. From that point on any computer problem is regarded as a BUG.

Conclusion:

Grace Hopper coined the term ‘bug’ for a computer fault. Hopper was the first person to ‘debug’ a computer 🙂

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Comments
  1. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your blog. It appears like some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Cheers

  2. Stephen Tan says:

    Reblogged this on Living a simple life in Malaysia (yeah, right!) and commented:
    authenticity unverified.. but it’s interesting anyway

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