Almost everything in the world today is run by computers, so it’s a bit worrying when they go wrong! In this story of crazy computer errors in the banking world we have a vocabulary focus on words to do with computers.
Knight Capital Group (KCG) lost an amazing $440 million in only 30 minutes on August 1st. Why? A small computer problem. Apparently their trading system had a technical problem. Experts have said their software went haywire. The company blamed a minor computer bug in its software. Their technicians worked on the system straightaway to fix the malfunction and to stop it happening again. The effect was a huge financial loss and a reduced stock price but nobody knew why or how it happened. Trades were made automatically at crazy prices but eventually stopped. It could have continued and destroyed the company but thankfully it didn’t. This technical blip created 4 million extra trades across 550 million shares. Experts say that Knight were testing new software and it had a flaw. It must have been very defective to make such a big mistake and cost the company $440M. Before this mishap, Knight’s software had a reputation for security and being reliable. Not anymore. Traders and investors are losing confidence in trading systems. This is not the first time we’ve seen a gremlin in a programme that’s caused big problems. It probably won’t be the last either.
This text has lots of words to describe problems with computers. Let’s take a look at them: Technical problem This can be used to explain any problem with a computer or electronic device. You may hear it used in airports when a plane has a problem. Haywire This is a strange word that means not functioning properly, broken or crazy. Bug People can have a stomach bug which means a virus but so can computers. So, a computer bug could be a virus or just a problem in the software. Malfunction Software or a machine that doesn’t work properly or does something wrong malfunctions. A machine in a factory that has a serious malfunction can be dangerous. Blip A blip refers to something that is small and temporary. Flaw Any weakness or negative part of something god can be called a flaw. People have flaws and computers too. Defective A product that is defective does not work or does not work properly. Mishap When something bad and unlucky happens it is a mishap. It normally causes bad things. Gremlin A gremlin is a small monster that causes problems in something. A gremlin in the system is the same, it’s a serious problem.