Top 10 Famous and Interesting Bugs in Computer Science World

Top 10 Famous and Interesting Bugs in Computer Science World

Top 10 Famous and Interesting Bugs in Computer Science World

It is very common to have bugs in softwares. Even if we develop software with very much care still it will have some error.

These bugs seem small and annoying for us. But sometimes these small bugs can cause disaster and result in loss of huge money and even human life.

Here are a few of the most famous, most devastating or most interesting bugs in recent history:

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Top 10 Famous Bugs in Computer Science World

1. Ariane 5 Crash

Ariane 5 was a rocket used to launch spacecrafts. It was exploded only about 40 seconds after its launch. The crush was due to very common bug known as Integer Overflow. It happens when we try to store a number greater than the maximum number that can be stored in a memory. This incident resulted in the loss of $370 million.

Ariane 5 Crash

Ariane 5 Crash

2. Patriot Missile Software Failure

28 American soldiers were killed and 98 were injured when an Iraqi missile hit their barracks. The patriot missile system failed to track and intercept an incoming missile due bug in patriot’s radar and tracking software.

Patriot Missile Software Failure

Patriot Missile Software Failure

3.Y2K Bug

During 1960s the computer engineers used 2 digits to represent years. So 1970 would be represented as 70. They used only 2 digits to reduce the size to store the data. This method worked fine till 31 Dec, 1999. But on 1 January, 2000 many computers would have read the year as 1900. To fix this little bug the engineers have to do lot of extra work.

Know more:  Y2K bug – EXplained

4. PayPal Error

Chris Reynolds from Pennsylvania became world’s richest man when PayPal erroneously credit about $92 quadrillion in his account.

5. Gangnam Style broke YouTube

When YouTube was developed a 32 bit signed integer was used to store the video’s view count. At that time nobody thought that a video would get views more than maximum size of 32 bit singed integer. But Gangnam Style video got views more than this limit. After the limit was exceeded the view count started showing some negative value. Google fixed the bug by changing the view count to a 64 bit signed integer.

Gangnam Style broke YouTube

Gangnam Style broke YouTube

6. Bug in Windows calculator

Windows calculator doesn’t give correct answer for square root(9)-3. The answer should be 0 but it doesn’t give 0 as an output. See following snapshot. This is true for any other number. For example answer of sqrt(4)-2 should be 0 but it won’t give 0 as an answer. Remember this bug exists in all versions of windows & it is possible that you may see different outputs on different versions of windows See the snapshot:

Bug in Windows calculator

Bug in Windows calculator

Related Links :Do You Know About These Windows Calculator Easter Eggs?

7. End of Time (Unix)

Time will “end” for 32-bit computers on 19 January, 2038.

Real time Unix clock: http://www.coolepochcountdown.com/

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8. Race Condition Bug Creates Blackout for 50 Million

On August 14, 2003, a blackout across eight US states and Canada affected 50 million people. PC Authority described the cause, a race condition bug, as something that occurs when “two separate threads of a single operation use the same element of code.” Without proper synchronization, the threads tangle and crash a system. That’s what happened here with the result 256 power plants offline. The major disruptions manifested themselves in the form of cellular communication with the best form of communication during the outage said to be a laptop using a dial-up modem. And if you just cringed in horror at the word “dial-up,” you’re not alone.

America Blackout

America Blackout

9. Mars Climate Orbiter : The $327 Million Disaster

The Mars Climate Orbiter launched on December 11, 1998, with the intention of bringing the United States unprecedented understanding of the only other planet in the solar system deemed capable of supporting life. Unfortunately, due to an error in the ground-based computer software, the $327.6 million project — according to the NASA fact sheet — went missing 286 days later. Because of a miscalculation, Orbiter entered the Mars atmosphere at the wrong entry point and disintegrated shortly thereafter.

Mars Climate Orbiter

Mars Climate Orbiter

10.AT&T hangs up its long-distance service (1990)

For nine hours in January 1990 no AT&T customer could make a long-distance call. The problem was the software that controlled the company’s long-distance relay switches—software that had just been updated. AT&T wound up losing $60 million in charges that day—a very expensive bug.

Source: What are some famous bugs in the computer science world?

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