U.S. engineers have been calling small flaws in machines “bugs” for over a century.
Thomas Edison talked about bugs in electrical circuits in the 1870s. When the first
computers were built during the early 1940s, people working on them found bugs in
both the hardware of the machines and in the programs that ran them. By 1945
the term was used for any defect: In the March 3rd 1945 “Billboard Magazine”,
a review (p11) notes: “There are still a number of bugs to shake out, but
if we were a sponser, we’d buy it fast.”
Credit for popularizing the term is generally accorded to computer pioneer
Grace Murray Hopper, who was working on the primitive Harvard University
Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator. On the 9th of September, 1947, when the machine
was experiencing problems, an investigation showed that there was a moth trapped
between the points of Relay #70, in Panel F. The operators removed the moth and
affixed it to the log. The entry reads: “First actual case of bug being found.”
The word went out that they had “debugged” the machine, and the term
“debugging a computer program” was born.
Although Grace Hopper was not there when it actually happened, it was
one of her favourite stories.
see also Computer Section
Computer Bug Removal
Voted #1 Humor Site