Trivia

Hard

In Computer Programming Slang, A Software Bug That Changes When You Attempt To Observe It Is A?

Heisenbug
Quantum Bug
Stealth Bomber
Code Chameleon

Answer: Heisenbug

If familiar with quantum mechanics (even if you’re just an armchair dabbler), then you likely not only honed right in on today’s trivia answer, but appreciated the pun packed within. In physics, there is a concept known as the “observer effect” that states that simply observing or measuring a phenomenon changes that phenomenon in some way. While, on a macro level, most observations do not fundamentally change the nature of an experiment or measurement in any practical way, when we get down into the very micro landscape of quantum mechanics, there is a particularly vexing example of the observer effect wherein simply observing the state of a quantum phenomenon can change the state of the phenomenon.

This quantum-level observer effect was first asserted by famed physicist Werner Heisenberg (perhaps best known for the related but different Heisenberg uncertainty principle), and the term “heisenbug” is a tongue-in-cheek portmanteau of his name and “computer bug”. Such bugs seem to disappear or alter their behavior based on whether or not they are observed. They occur in programming because there are numerous variables at play (both literally in the actual code, and more broadly in terms of things like the load on the system during different points of debugging and testing) and the process of debugging often, unwittingly, alters said variables. There is a related term on the hardware/electronics side of things known as the “probe effect”, wherein using a probe to monitor the system creates a change that alters the outcome of the observation and troubleshooting session.

Trivia

Very Hard

The English Phrase “Hunker Down” Was Popularized By?

Trivia

Hard

Who Coined The Term “Robot”?

Trivia

Very Hard

Whether Wood Is Considered “Hardwood” Or “Softwood” Is Determined By?

Trivia

Hard

Which Search Phrase Did Google Temporarily Ban Under The Belief They Were Experiencing A Cyber Attack?

Trivia

Hard

Traditionally The Irish Scare Away Spirits On New Year’s With?

Trivia

Hard

Saccadic Masking Is a Cognitive Phenomenon Wherein We Can’t See What Moving?

Trivia

Hard

Despite The Common Belief, The Word Sushi Does Not Refer To Raw Fish But?

Trivia

Hard

Which Pop Artist’s Stage Name Is The Result Of An Auto Correct Typo?

Trivia

Hard

Numbers Used To Identify Something Are Known As?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Phenomenon Of Light Generation Through The Crushing Of Materials Is Called?