Computable Minds -

The machines neither are inmune to the radiactivity

Posted on: Apr, 13th 2011
Signal warning of radiactivity
The processors aren't inmune to the radiactivity. This it produces soft errors, that are errors in the signals of its circuits, produced by the noise that generates the radiation on it. The consequences of the radiation over the machines aren't so devastating as over the human, because in the worst case we can reboot the machine, but the things that could do the machines affected by radiation to the humans, it could be dangerous.

These errors began to appear by first time in the years 70, because the firsts RAM modules was built with little quantities of radiactive material. Actually, this errors only are produced in satelites (due to the exposition to the cosmic ray), medical machines of radiotherapy and, in the nuclear plants.

The soft errors makes the signals alter their value. There are a threshold of voltage that determines when the value of the signal is 0 or 1. The electromagnetic wave induces an electrical current in the circuit changin this value, this can do that a 0 be converted to a 1 or a 1 in a 0.

To avoid the soft errors, in the hardware of the machine, are implemented algorithms of detection and correcting of errors, that allow detect and correct erroneous bits on the fly. Furthermore, to do the circuits less sensibles to the radiation, are built with determinate materials and are used transistor of a calculated size (when more little are, more faster is the processor and more sensible to the radiation) and finally all is isolated in the best possible way. All of this to avoid that, in the worst case, the computer, that have to control the quantity of radiation that recieves a patient, don't end scorching him. Also avoid that the satelites do kamikaze attacks against the Earth and that stop working completely the control systems of a nuclear plant that has suffered an accident.

So you know, if you go to Fukushima and your laptop crashes, could be that the guilty wasn't Windows.

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