Software Bug Stories
By Software Bug Stories
Over time, software applications have increasingly become necessities in our lives, and their failure can result in catastrophic consequences for economies – even on an international level. Software failures cost the global economy millions of dollars annually. Tune in every week!
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Software Bug StoriesNov 01, 2022
Incorrect divisions on Intel Pentium processors
If you still have a computer with a Pentium processor at 60, 66, 75, 90, or 100 MHz, you can reproduce this popular error. This bug, also popularly known as the Pentium FDIV bug, was a hardware bug affecting the floating-point unit (FPU) of early Intel Pentium processors. Due to this bug, the processor would return incorrect binary floating-point results when dividing certain pairs of high-precision numbers.
An AT&T network failure
American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas; it is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. In January of 1990, a bug in a new version of the software that controlled AT&T's #4ESS long distance switches caused these computers to crash when they received a specific message from other related machines
Kerberos random number generator
Kerberos is a protocol created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used to authenticate two devices that connect to each other. When a bug was discovered in the random number generator of the Netscape web browser, it caused Kerberos to take a closer look at its own random number generator. The flaw in Netscape would allow network users to intercept and decrypt potentially sensitive information such as credit card numbers
Therac-25 medical accelerator
The Therac-25 was a machine built to deliver radiation treatments to cancer patients. This radiation machine was computer-controlled and cost millions of dollars. Unfortunately, there were six accidents involving significant overdoses of radiation to patients resulting in death between 1985 and 1987.
Hartford Civic Center Coliseum Collapse
A New York Times article from January 19, 1978 reports on the collapse of a Connecticut civic center the previous day:
Under a heavy blanket of ice and snow, the huge flat roof of the two‐year‐old Hartford Civic Center's coliseum collapsed at 4:15 this morning, raining havoc on the $70 million convention and shopping complex that was meant to be the centerpiece of the city's resurgence.
The Mariner 1 spacecraft
Welcome to this series of stories about software bugs. Today we will be talking about: The Mariner 1 spacecraft. In July of 1962, NASA launched an unmanned space mission from Cape Canaveral, commencing the first Mariner mission. The incident was caused by a combination of factors, one of which related to the mistaken omission of a hyphen in coded computer instructions in the craft’s data-editing program, resulting in the transmission of incorrect guidance signals to the spacecraft.
The Soviet Oko system almost started a nuclear war
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. The first phase of the Cold War began after the end of World War II in 1945. By the 1980s, another period of heightened tension arose, leading the United States to increase diplomatic, military, and economic pressures against the Soviet Union. During this time, an error in the Soviet Union Oko system almost triggered a nuclear war between the two military superpowers.
The Morris Internet worm
Robert Morris is popularly known as the creator of the Morris Worm. In 1988, this Cornell University student created a computer “worm” as part of an experiment that ended up crashing tens of thousands of computers due to a coding error. Listen to this episode to find out how this whole story ended.
First actual case of bug being found.
Among the team who found the first-reported computer bug was computer-language pioneer Grace Hopper. Many people believe that it was her who found the bug and who called it the “first actual case of a bug found." But there are other historical references that disprove this assertion. We invite you to listen to this episode.
The Origins of the Term Bug
Welcome to this series of stories about software bugs. Today we will be talking about: The Origins of the Term Bug.