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DEC 14, 2017
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FRONT PAGE  |  12/14/2017
THURSDAY, OCT 8, 2009  |  3 comments
Google: Computer memory flakier than expected
Wondering why your computer just crashed again? Its memory might be to blame, according to real-world Google research that finds error rates higher than what earlier work showed.

With hundreds of thousands of computers in its data centers, Google can collect an abundance of real-world data about how those machines actually work. That's exactly what the company did for a research paper that found error rates are surprisingly high.

"We found the incidence of memory errors and the range of error rates across different DIMMs (dual in-line memory modules) to be much higher than previously reported," according the paper jointly written by Bianca Schroeder, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Google's Eduardo Pinheiro and Wolf-Dietrich Weber. "Memory errors are not rare events." ...


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· Page 1 ·  Found: 3 user comment(s)
News Item10/8/09 8:44 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
I cannot comment about free RAM, since I've never even heard of it before.
3

News Item10/8/09 7:51 PM
Allan | NZ  Find all comments by Allan
You get what you pay for. Free stuff usually dies in the short term and expensive stuff works for years.
2

News Item10/8/09 1:11 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
"In the olden days of personal computing and into the 1990s, memory was unreliable enough that people ran reliability tests."

When I did RAM tests back then (both during bootstrap & with diagnostic apps), I do not recall ever seeing an error detected. Maybe others have contrary experience?

BTW, the original 1981 IBM PC had parity-checked RAM. By no means the best way of detecting errors, it was better than nothing.

While this is speculation, I think latent software defects (the effect of the Fall upon human rationality) cause the majority of PC (if not server) crashes. It is *very* difficult (if not impossible) to make software reliable enough to handle all contingencies, especially anything as complex as modern operating systems & office apps with millions of lines of code & dozens of developers. Using software w/o incident for a long time does not mean it has no flaws (fallacy of induction).

Both programmers & users have forgotten the virtue of simplicity.

1
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