Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
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Thursday word: heisenbug

heisenbug (HAI-zen-bug) - n., (computing) a software defect that alters its behavior or disappears when one attempts to isolate it.


Named by analogy from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as a metaphoric extension that misses the point of the original but never mind that. That heisenbugs exist is not as farfetched as it might seem, given that debugging tools alter the computing environment -- such as initializing variables that were not being initialized by the buggy code. The term is sometimes attributed to Jim Gray because of his use in a widely read 1985 article on software defects, but it appears at least two years earlier in the proceedings from a 1983 ACM conference.

Heisenbugs are usually resolved through very careful debugging.

---L.
Tags: computing, h, noun, slang, wordsmith: prettygoodword
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