To find out what was going wrong, they opened the computer and looked inside (remember, this was in the “good old days”, and an electro-mechanical computer was in use).
And there they found a moth stuck inside the computer, which had caused the malfunction!
In 1999, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter overshot its target when trying to move into orbit around the red planet. The reason: One engineering team working on the spacecraft used metric measurements while another team used Imperial units. The 1996 maiden flight of the European Space Agency's state-of-the-art Ariane 5 rocket ended in a spectacular explosion over French Guiana.
Later that year, the Mars Polar Lander crashed due to a malfunction that caused it to shut down its main engines before it had reached the planet surface. The rocket's inertial guidance system failed to convert a piece of data from a 64-bit format to a 16-bit format.
Nasdaq is still dealing with the fallout of its glitch-plagued IPO.
In less than an hour, Knight Capital's computers executed a series of automatic orders that were supposed to be spread out over a period of days. The resulting loss, which was nearly four times the company's 2011 profit, crippled the firm and brought it to the edge of bankruptcy.Most of that price tag, though, comes from "lost income," a hard-to-measure variable.When computer bugs affect the financial markets -- something that's happening more and more often -- the losses can be tallied precisely.In this column, we’ve always covered unusual and interesting technical topics.This month, we discuss the word “bug”, and the history behind its use in the software context.
Stock markets have become increasingly vulnerable to bugs over the last decade thanks to financial firms' growing reliance on high-speed computerized trading.