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The very first computer bug!

students collaborating on coding project

The above picture is from 1947 and depicts an actual bug that was extracted from the Havard Mark II, an early computer system built at Harvard University (few computers existed throughout the world at this point).The bug is a moth and was trapped between points at “Relay #70” and “Panel F” and was discovered on September 9, 1947, several months after the computers first realistic tests that July. The full name of the Mark II is: Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator, it was project funded by the US Navy who eventually inherited the machine.

Many people use this anecdote to explain the etymology of the term “computer bug” and “debugging” but they are actually incorrect.The term had been used for decades to describe any sort of technical malfunction.The true etymology is unclear but we can trace the term as far back as this quote from Thomas Edison:

“It has been just so in all of my inventions. The first step is an intuition, and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise — this thing gives out and [it is] then that ‘Bugs’ — as such little faults and difficulties are called”

-Edison to Puskas, 13 November 1878

As usual, all facts were made up completely