History's Worst Software Bugs

An interesting collection of history’s worst software bugs. There are so many wonderful bugs that haven’t made this list….. like the bug that crashed a premier Wireless Service Provider’s Mobile switches in Dallas last tuesday. But a good historical tally of some of the worst by Simson Garfinkel.

“Last month automaker Toyota announced a recall of 160,000 of its Prius hybrid vehicles following reports of vehicle warning lights illuminating for no reason, and cars’ gasoline engines stalling unexpectedly. But unlike the large-scale auto recalls of years past, the root of the Prius issue wasn’t a hardware problem — it was a programming error in the smart car’s embedded code. The Prius had a software bug.

With that recall, the Prius joined the ranks of the buggy computer — a club that began in 1947 when engineers found a moth in Panel F, Relay #70 of the Harvard Mark 1 system. The computer was running a test of its multiplier and adder when the engineers noticed something was wrong. The moth was trapped, removed and taped into the computer’s logbook with the words: “first actual case of a bug being found.”

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