In 1945, while working in a World War I vintage non-air-conditioned building on a hot, humid summer day, the computer stopped. We searched for the problem and found a failing relay — one of the big signal relays. Inside, we found a moth that had been beaten to death. We pulled it out with tweezers and taped it to the log book. From then on, when the officer came in to ask if we were accomplishing anything, we told him we were ‘debugging’ the computer.
Right now we’re in the business of collecting information. No one has really analyzed the total flow of information. What is most important? Is it Joe’s two hours of overtime, or is it a nuclear power plant that might blow up if we don’t change a valve setting? We have not correctly addressed that.
We haven’t researched the value of information or the cost of incorrect information—or even which information gets priority. It is my experience that the senior squeaking wheel gets the top priority.