"First actual case of bug being found," according to the brainiacs at Harvard, 1945. The engineers who found the moth were the first to literally "debug" a machine.
Photograph courtesy Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia
On September 9, 1947, a team of computer scientists and engineers reported the world’s first computer bug. A bug is a flaw or glitch in a system. Thomas Edison reported “bugs” in his designs as early as the 1800s, but this was the first bug identified in a computer. Today, software bugs can impact the functioning, safety, and security of computer operating systems. “Debugging” and bug management are important parts of the computer science industry.
This bug, however, was literally a bug. “First actual case of bug being found,” one of the team members wrote in the logbook. The team at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, found that their computer, the Mark II, was delivering consistent errors. When they opened the computer’s hardware, they found ... a moth. The trapped insect had disrupted the electronics of the computer.
Among the team who found the first-reported computer bug was computer-language pioneer Grace Hopper. She is often given credit for reporting the bug, but that is not true. She was, however, the person who likely made the incident famous.
Hopper, who earned a mathematics doctorate from Yale University in 1934, was one of the first computer programmers. Hopper invented the first English-language data-processing compiler, which laid the foundation for the development of machine-independent programming languages, like COBOL that she helped develop.
mistake or flaw in a computer program.
device designed to access data, perform prescribed tasks at high speed, and display the results.
study of the design and operation of computer hardware and software, and the applications of computer technology.
maintaining a steady, reliable quality.
to transfer or hand over.
devices or tools that use electricity to work.
person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).
mistake or error.
to work or work correctly.
to recognize or establish the identity of something.
to influence or have an effect on something.
activity that produces goods and services.
type of animal that breathes air and has a body divided into three segments, with six legs and usually wings.
person who creates a new idea, machine, product, device, or process.
exactly what is said, without exaggeration.
mechanical appliances or tools used in manufacturing.
collection of software that directs and controls a computer's overall operation. Also called an OS.
safety or stability.
electronic programs of code that tell computers what to do.
collection of items or organisms that are linked and related, functioning as a whole.