On September 27, 1997, the USS Yorktown, a Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser, 567 feet long and 34 feet wide, drifted to a silent standstill off the coast of Virginia1 (see Figure 9-1). Moments before, a crew member had hit zero on his keyboard, inadvertently triggering a software bug and a subsequent cascade of system failures, including the ship’s propulsion. The ship sat dead in the water under the stars for over two hours—a billion dollars’ worth of American might defeated by a single keystroke.
The software bug was caused ...
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