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How to build a PC that never crashes

Could nature’s chaos be the blueprint for creating a computer that never crashes? University College London computer scientist Peter Bentley thinks so. By using what he describes as a “systemic” computer, with self repairing systems, we could potentially have a future where our PCs never bring up that dreaded screen of death – regardless of colour.

Describing out current generation of computers as more of an illusion of multi-tasking, he claims a computer he’d created with fellow UCL scientist Christos Sakellariou is much more efficient. “Even when it feels like your computer is running all your software at the same time, it is just pretending to do that, flicking its attention very quickly between each program,” Bentley says.

Blue Screen
A thing of the past?

However, the system he created does things differently. According to New Scientist’s breakdown, it is able to link the temperature outside with various outcomes. It then splits the results of these into “systems”, each of which has its own memory and controller that makes it possible for it to only interact with similar systems. But these systems aren’t executed sequentially like on a standard computer, but based on a pseudeorandom number generator, that’s designed to mirror a more natural phenomenon.

Because of this, says Bentley. “The pool of systems interact in parallel, and randomly, and the result of a computation simply emerges from those interactions.”

While it sounds like it would be slower than what we have today, apparently it’s incredibly fast and stable. It also has multiple redundancies, as copies of instructions are sent to multiple systems, allowing them to be run if the original becomes corrupted, meaning a computer can recover from a crash without needing to shutdown and restart.

KitGuru Says: This is all a bit technical for me, but it sounds like an interesting idea. Any of you lot got more of a mental handle on this care to explain it better than I could?

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