Ever wondered about the origins of the term "bugs" as applied to computer
technology? U.S. Navy Capt. Grace Murray Hopper has firsthand explanation.
The 74-year-old captain, who is still on active duty, was a pioneer in
computer technology during World War II. At the C. W. Post Center of Long
Island University, Hopper told a group of Long Island public school adminis-
trators that the first computer "bug" was a real bug--a moth. At Harvard
one August night in 1945, Hopper and her associates were working on the
"granddaddy" of modern computers, the Mark I. "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." Hopper
said that when the veracity of her story was questioned recently, "I referred
them to my 1945 log book, now in the collection of the Naval Surface Weapons
Center, and they found the remains of that moth taped to the page in
[actually, the term "bug" had even earlier usage in
regard to problems with radio hardware. Ed.]
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