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Comment Re: "Of course it can," says government (Score 1) 106

The comment I was responding to was regarding HAARP. And that's "except" FYI. :-) ECC is actually more reliable, for its problem domain, than a triple voting system. The probability that you would arrive at a valid ECC code for bad data due to multiple bit flips is much lower than than the probability of two out of three systems voting wrong. So, it is at least theoretically possible to design a computer system with data integrity throughout that exceeds that of a voting system.

Comment Re:"Of course it can," says government (Score 1) 106

Faraday cages are really good for RF, and I was writing about HAARP. The X rays that you get from a radiologist don't have the same energy level as cosmic rays. The best we can do about energetic cosmic rays is to make our equipment less susceptible, because you can never have enough shielding.

Comment ECC (Score 5, Insightful) 106

This is why ECC is used to protect memory and data busses. At least on the good stuff :-) . One of the issues is die shrink. As the minimum detail slze of the IC process gets smaller, the potential for radiation to flip a bit gets higher.

Silicon-on-sapphire is the main way to implement silicon-on-insulator, which is more protective of radiation bit flips and less likely to latch-up. But since these have historically been required only for space satellites, they have been horribly expensive. Imagine running an entire IC fabrication just to make a few chips. As there are more applications for rad-hard chips, the price could fall.

Comment Re:Missing theory (Score 1) 50

A view Russian probes got lost while flying over HAARP, I think Phobos Grunt was the most recent one. The theory is that their electronics was grilled by these high-power transmitters. This one actually makes sense though.

This was obfuscation on the part of the Russians. According to the failure report issued by Roscosmos there were other reasons, including use of non-space-qualified components that were susceptible to radiation damage, and insufficient ground testing.

Comment Re:Good ol' days (Score 0) 117

The reason is both the reason for its success and the reason for its failure. The Pascal language makes a lot of compromises in areas of readability and organization to allow for small compilers. In the case of PCs, it was much easier to write a Pascal compiler that ran well off a 128k floppy than a C compiler. That stopped mattering pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Pascal-based? (Score 1, Redundant) 117

Well first off the super computers aren't about the Pascal language but the Pascal chip. I'd disagree that Pascal was all that proven out. It seemed very quickly to have had structural flaws which caused other languages to overtake it. Pascal was fairly low level yet it lacked good low level interfaces. Which is why it lost out to C. Pascal supports admit this and one of the main directions of Turbo Pascal / Delphi was to introduce into Pascal handling for lower level code (example partial compilation).

If you think of Pascal as a higher level language where bad handling of low level code is acceptable it also wasn't competitive. Pascal is strongly typed but has a poor type system without abstractions. Making types difficult to work with under almost all conditions. It had poor handling of static vs. dynamic data including things like abstracting networks or file systems. There are lots of sacrifices in organization for ease in writing small compilers. A very good choice for early 1980s PC compilers that had to run off a floppy not a good choice since. The languages strictness on looping structures tended to result in duplicate code.

Etc... Pascal was a partial success. But it died for good reasons.

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