< Full Calendar

09-09-1947

First computer bug discovered

Buggy Brilliant

We’ve all heard of computer ‘bugs’. It’s an error, flaw or failure in a piece of software that stops Jet Set Willy from loading or makes that nice picture of some ducks look like a naked person, even though you were definitely downloading a nice picture of some ducks. But today was the day that the first ever computer bug was discovered. It was 1947 and Harvard’s Mark II electromechanical computer was having some problems. Eventually engineers found that a dead moth was gumming up the works. An actual computer bug. The incident was logged by early computer pioneer and all-around genius Grace Hopper, who didn’t actually refer to it as ‘debugging’. But from then on computers and bugs went together like jelly and ice-cream. The actual moth was taped into the lab’s log books and can now be seen in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Could it be the most famous moth in history? Come on moths, time to take up the mantle and make a name for yourself. Don’t let this moth take all the glory.