View Full Version : ok not completely off topic :-)

July 15th, 2005, 04:57 PM
Since it does talk vintage all the way ;-)

The First Freely Programmable Computer invented by Konrad Zuse

The Harvard MARK I Computer - Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper

Anybody got room for these two babies? lol

Terry Yager
July 15th, 2005, 05:21 PM
FWIW, Grace Hopper has denied that the moth-in-the-relay story ever happened to her.


July 15th, 2005, 06:16 PM
Somebody has heard something wrong. This web page has a picture of the bug report, complete with the actual bug:




Terry Yager
July 15th, 2005, 08:10 PM
Yes, I have seen that page before. The story is somewhat apocryphal tho. I can't find the direct quote right now, but here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:


While she was working on a Mark II computer at Harvard University, her associates discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were "debugging" the system. Though the term computer bug cannot be definitively attributed to Admiral Hopper, she did bring the term into popularity. The remains of the moth can be found in the group's log book at the Naval Surface Weapons Center. (emphasis mine -T)

Another excerpt on the etymology of the term "computer bug", also from Wikipedia:


Hopper was not actually the one who found the insect, as she readily acknowledged. And the date was September 9th of 1947, not of 1945. The operators who did find it were familiar with the engineering term and, amused, kept the insect with the notation "First actual case of bug being found." Hopper loved to recount the story.


July 16th, 2005, 06:02 AM
'Bug' was already in use at Harvard. The techs found a real bug in the computer causing the problem, and hence the joke about debugging a system.

I think the claim that she denied the moth-in-the-relay story is overly strong. She was there, it was her team of techs, and she gladly went along with the joke. So we may not know which particular tech pulled the moth out, but the story basically stands.

July 23rd, 2005, 05:23 AM
Imagine if there had been a worm or snake instead. These days, worms unfortunately relate to computing, but computer snakes are less common.

July 23rd, 2005, 06:29 AM
LOL wonder what they'd call debugging....descaling a program? or something...lol