The world’s first bug was found on September 9, 1947. It was found by the “Grace Hopper” who was the computer scientist in ‘Harvard University’. She reported the World’s first computer bug. A bug is a flaw or glitch in a system. But this was not a Software bug it was a real-life moth that was causing the issue with the computer hardware.
According to Grace, it was really a bug. Her coworkers were facing the issue that their systems were delivering a consistent error. Then they decided to open the computer hardware they found a moth(Insect) in it. Inside all the wires, they found a moth. They were surprised to find the insect trapped in wires. The moth had accidentally flown in and got trapped between parts of the computer. The trapped insect had disrupted the electronics of the computer. They have to fix or debug that problem. Grace and her coworkers thought it was funny that the “bug” was actually a “bug”!
The term ‘bug’ was not invented by the Hopper, It was first invented by the “Thomas Edison” in the early 1800s when “Thomas Edison” used the phrase to describe a problem with his telephone designs. The term ‘bugs in a computer’ had been used before, but after Grace Hopper wrote in her diary “First actual case of bug being found” the term became really popular, and that’s why we are still using it today. Hopper was one of the first computer geeks in the world and went on to create the first compiler for a computer programming language and worked on the development of COBOL.
Next time your computer or smartphone crashes and you suspect a bug, think back to this image:
There is a famous letter which was written by the Edison to William Orton, Western Union’s president, updating him on a conversation they’d had in person about a new telephone design:
“You were partly correct, I did find a ‘bug’ in my apparatus, but it was not in the telephone proper. It was of the genus ‘cerebellum.’ The insect appears to find conditions for its existence in all call apparatus of telephones.”
This letter, at auction next week at Swann Galleries, is one of the earliest examples of this use of “bug”, to describe a problem with technology.
Thomas A. Edison’s letter to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.