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Comment Re:@Intel: Why no ECC for consumer-grade processor (Score 1) 149

You hit a LSB and something is off by one. You hit a MSB and you're potentially off by trillions.

That's a good argument for Gray code.

I have to take issue with the assumption that nothing clears errors better than a hard reset. There are very many known strategies for dealing with errors on a running system, and a reset only clears persistent and cumulative error, rather than transient ones. Since we can assume that your computer doesn't keep the same data in memory all of the time, most will be transient.

Comment Re:ECC (Score 1) 149

The situation for AMSAT is still pretty bad, as far as I've heard. As a radio amateur group (and one that has launched quite a few satellites as space hitch-hikers) they can't afford the good stuff, but they get some donated by NASA and some of the commercial satellite companies. Only a few years ago they were still using the 1802 as their main vehicle controller, as that was their main choice in silicon-on-sapphire CPUs. They get some donations of space-qualified solar cells. They scrub their memory continuously, They use no boot ROMS. The program is loaded entirely by hardware, and then the CPU is started.

Comment Re: "Of course it can," says government (Score 1) 149

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) 149

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) 149

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) 55

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.

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