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Comment Re:Stratus has proprietary redundant *everything*. (Score 1) 137

A lot of manufacturing shops use them to run production lines (where the computer crashing can cause the entire line to shut down).

They are also part of the 911 system.

The other reason one occasionally wants voting hardware is to detect failures. If the numbers you are crunching are really important, you want to be sure you get the right answer. I certainly hope that the people designing self-driving cars are using voting computers, redundant sensors, and redundant actuators. I don't want a glitch in some microprocessor to send me into a head-on collision! [I wouldn't use a Stratus computer for that, but I would build voting into the CPU chip -- in the correct way so that memory is also voted.]

Comment Re: Not "continuously" in the geek sense of the wo (Score 1) 137

Given that the version of the OS that supports that machine hasn't been updated for more than a decade, that machine probably has been running continuously for a lot more than 10 years.

If it was bought in 1993, the CPUs were probably PA-RISC, not 68K. I can't tell for sure, because the picture was not a Stratus machine.

The current generation of CPUs are functionally dual socket zeons in 4U rack enclosures. The heat envelope allows for up to 24 cores. Operating systems supported are VOS (the original proprietary OS -- which is still being developed), Windows Server, Linux and VMWare.

Comment It's irrelevent in the Real World (Score 1) 198

And I mean the real world of sensational news stories and public expectations.

Take, for example, air bags. I don't think anyone would argue that air bags have saved thousands of lives and prevented much more serious injury. But we have just seen defects that resulted in a small number of lost lives and injuries result in sensational press stories, CEOs getting grilled by Congress and massive recalls. The "we caused less damage" argument won't cut it in the long run. In the end, the argument that wins is "We've done everything we can do and we didn't make any mistakes".

Engineers working on autonomous driving cars had better start asking questions like this:

Are all of the critical sensors and computers doing three way voting so they can continue to work in the event of a failure?

Are the remaining systems at least two way voting or using some other sort of error detection?

Are all of the actuators fault tolerant? Braking systems should be fully duplicated. Steering actuators should be triple redundant so that even if one fails in a hard over mode the other two can compensate.

Comment Re:PSA: on "fingerprint scanners" (Score 1) 432

They don't work if you use a sanding block for a few hours without gloves on. And then don't work a few weeks after the prints are relearned and the skin grows back...

But that said, I have seen postings that somebody with an ordinary person's resources has figured out how photograph your fingerprints and make it work; so, it isn't that hard.

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