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Unpredictability in Future Microprocessors

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the guesstimating dept.

Hardware 244

prostoalex writes "A Business Week article says increase in chip speeds and number of transistors on a single microprocessor leads to varying degrees of unpredictability, which used to be a no-no word in the microprocessor world. However, according to scientists from Georgia Tech's Center for Research in Embedded Systems & Technology, unpredictability becomes a great asset leading to energy conservation and increased computation speeds."

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Three cheers! (5, Funny)

Electroly (708000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656133)

Three cheers for entropy!

Re:Three cheers! (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656154)

How can you cheer for something that will eventually kill you?

Re:Three cheers! (5, Funny)

chiok (858005) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656373)

Hurrah! Hurra! Hurry!

Re:Three cheers! (1)

glib909 (623480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656717)

Delta-C cheers for entropy!

Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656809)

This just in -- The future is not predictable.
News at Eleven.

Re:Three cheers! (2, Funny)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656823)

1 + 1 = e2924e9320?

Still... (-1, Offtopic)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656139)

Only the elderly in Korea, however, ever appear to be afflicted with the aforementioned situation.

Well... (4, Funny)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656140)

I'd be a lot more trusting of their results if they had worked it out on a processor with 100% certainty.

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

thpr (786837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656395)

I'd be a lot more trusting of their results if they had worked it out on a processor with 100% certainty.

Think of the potential heartburn for the CEOs and CFOs who might have to sign off the financial statements (ala Sarbanes-Oxley) after the calculations were done using one of these processors... :*)

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656399)

In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
-- Pliny the Elder (23 AD - 79 AD)

Re:Well... (1)

ATN (630862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656448)

Are you certain of that :p

Soo (5, Funny)

NIK282000 (737852) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656153)

Will the number of windows errors increase or will they just occur at even more improbable times?

Re:Soo (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656408)

I don't know about you but I have no trouble opening and closing my windows.

Re:Soo (2, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656622)

You must have never had to ride the bus to school as a kid then.

(God, I hated those little buttons.)

Adds new meaning to this ... (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656163)

Remember that old saying "It's not a bug, it's a feature"? Now they've found a way to market their hardware mistakes. Eat your heart out, Gates.

--

On February 7th, Russ Nelson (Open Source Initiative president) published an article called "Blacks are lazy", quoted in journal entries here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] .

Please consider signing the online petition [petitiononline.com] asking OSI to remove Russ Nelson.

Re:Adds new meaning to this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656374)

>On February 7th, Russ Nelson (Open Source
>Initiative president) published an article called >"Blacks are lazy", quoted in journal entries here >[slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org].

>Please consider signing the online petition >[petitiononline.com] asking OSI to remove Russ >Nelson.

Let the GNAA take care of him...

Re:Adds new meaning to this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656498)

Seems the 'off topic' mods are out. Nothing better to do on a Saturday night.

Re: Russ Nelson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656799)

A person's personal opinions should be totally irrelevant as far as his/her job is concerned; it's job performance that counts. Now, if the person lets his/her own personal beliefs interfere with his/her job (e.g., in this case, not hiring blacks, etc.), then that is a different matter.

BTW, many blacks are lazy. So are many whites, and many yellows, and many [insert color here]s. If one tries to generalize laziness to all blacks, however, all you have to do is point to people like Colon Powell and Whoopi Goldberg, organizations such as the SCLC and Black Panthers, and African tribes such as the Zulus.

P.S. I just read his entire article. It starts out sounding racist, but the article as a whole is not. At the worst, he was being economicist.

YMMV (1)

ectotherm (842918) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656179)

I'm surprised M$ hasn't patented unpredictability in operations. Oh, wait, that's software...

Re:YMMV (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656196)

Didn't take long for the linux fags to come out

Re:YMMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656453)

You must be new here!

Another use (2, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656184)

unpredictability becomes a great asset leading to energy conservation and increased computation speeds

Probably and even bigger boon for encryption and key-generation.

Re:Another use (4, Insightful)

thpr (786837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656361)

Probably and even bigger boon for encryption and key-generation.

I vote key-generation and not encryption. Otherwise, how would you decrypt it? (given that the key generation and decryption are non-deterministic with one of these...)

Robots and Unpredictability (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656193)

"unpredictability becomes a great asset leading to energy conservation and increased computation speeds."

When robots have this "unpredictability" tell me not to worry!

Windows ME did something right (0, Flamebait)

bird603568 (808629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656194)

unpredictability becomes a great asset leading to energy conservation and increased computation speeds if this is the case, then windows MS is Godly.

Re:Windows ME did something right (2, Funny)

s-orbital (598727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656292)

Nothing saves more power than a box that has been turned off due windows commiting suicide

Acceptable uncertainty (4, Informative)

swg101 (571879) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656198)

Degrees of probability and uncertainty have been in given in the communications industry for quite some time. This just seems to be pointing out that the same ideas can be applied to the actual processing of the data.

Now that I think about it, it does seem to make some sense. I am not sure that I would want to program on such a chip right now though (I imagine that debugging could become a nightmare really quickly!).

Acceptable uncertainty-Digital Brains. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656522)

"Now that I think about it, it does seem to make some sense. I am not sure that I would want to program on such a chip right now though (I imagine that debugging could become a nightmare really quickly!)."

Your brain seems to handle the job just fine.

Re:Acceptable uncertainty (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656723)

Well, chaotic networks generally perform better than deterministic ones, as counterintuitive as that seems.

Re:Acceptable uncertainty (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656855)

Your sig's link is broken, btw swg101

its a trick! (1, Interesting)

Foktip (736679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656199)

Intel's just saying that to draw your attention away from IBM's cell! Its a trick, dont listen to them; theyre just making this stuff up!

The Uncertain Airbag (3, Insightful)

rhaikh (856971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656212)

Well, there's a 99.99% chance that airbag shouldn't be deployed right now, I'm just gonna disregard that "1".

TFA (5, Interesting)

shirai (42309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656222)

It is an interesting idea but I think there would have to be a lot of research that goes into this and here's what I mean.

The article is right in that certain things don't need 100% accuracy and that small variations in the answers can yield very good results. This could be important when time is more important than 100% accuracy.

That said, how do we know if the variations are small? Only 1 bit can change a huge negative number into a huge positive number in a standard integer (Okay, I haven't looked at the bit layout of an integer lately but I think it's encoded like this. If not, you still get my point right?).

So perhaps then this idea sort of works when we are aggregating lots of small calculated numbers but then switch to a traditional chip to add them together.

You see what I'm getting at? Computers don't really know that the small variation at the most significant bit is actually a huge variation.

I think there would also have to be a lot of analysis based on understanding how the variations add up and their cumulative effect. For example, a well written app under this scenario means that the errors basically average out over time as opposed to errors that blow out of proportion.

Anyways, I can think of a few good uses for this. Probably the most notable being down the DSP path (which the article metions). Our eyes probably wouldn't see small errors in an HD display during processing or hear small errors in audio processing.

This is parallel to the fact that there is less error checking in audio CDs and video DVDs than their computer counterparts CD-ROM and DVD-ROM (or the R/RW/etc.etc. counterparts).

Re:TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656321)

Obviously that point has occurred to them. (I would hope, but can't imagine it hasn't.)

Re:TFA (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656350)

I think the idea is that we have enough computing power to be able to throw a couple of checks at each operation...

what a waste.

Re:TFA (2, Interesting)

buraianto (841292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656367)

Or, you have a random bit change in your opcode and suddenly you're doing a muliply instead of an add. Or your opcode is an invalid one and your processor halts. Yeah, I don't think this makes sense given our current way of doing microprocessors. We'd have to do it some other way.

Re:TFA (3, Insightful)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656392)

also, given these are microprocessors, when they have instruction jumps, wouldn't it be a concern if the address they're jumping to is slightly off?

Re:TFA (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656460)

That said, how do we know if the variations are small? Only 1 bit can change a huge negative number into a huge positive number in a standard integer (Okay, I haven't looked at the bit layout of an integer lately but I think it's encoded like this. If not, you still get my point right?).
Sure, if you continue to use an encoding that doesn't tolerate errors. The math is beyond me, but I know there are ways to encode numbers so that a single-bit error nudges a value slightly, instead of changing it in wildly unpredictable ways.

Also, a lot of computing deals mainly with string values, like the Google example in the story. Even without a random element in the calculations, it's hard to predict exactly what page will come out on top of a Google ranking. If the ordering's slightly different, nobody will care.

And that's assuming that Google's secret algorithms don't already have a random element. Something I wouldn't rule out!

Pbit-chip prospects (5, Funny)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656255)

Whether any Wall Street firms are getting regular briefs on Palem's research, as Intel and IBM (IBM ) are, he won't say. Wall Street doesn't like people blabbering about technology that promises a competitive advantage.

Actually this sounds more useful to Diebold and the Republican National Committee.

I have allready heard this .... (1, Flamebait)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656264)

"Let's learn to live with it and see what we can do with unpredictability"

dejavu!, I said this years ago when my ex-boss decided to buy a w2k server!!

Didn't work the last time (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656270)

Signed,

FDIV

Re:Didn't work the last time (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656567)

Thats pretty funny - don't know why you got modded "Offtopic" I guess the mod was unfamiliar with the famous Pentium FDIV bug....

Re:Didn't work the last time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656828)

FDiv, how have you been?! I haven't seen you since university! You're looking good - did you lose weight?

Improbability drive? (4, Funny)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656274)

You're sitting at your desk and out of nowhere, bam! You are transported to the edge of the galaxy. Weird.

Re:Improbability drive? (1)

arekq (651007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656422)

Don't worry. A future you will come back to destroy the borg and get you home. :)

Re:Improbability drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656629)

Maybe you know this, but I can't give up a chance to plug an incredible book:

The parent post is actually referring to something not from Trek, but rather from Douglas Adams - "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". It's a nice trilogy of five books... yes, five. And it's a trilogy. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Cheers,
- AC

Re:Improbability drive? (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656607)

Um, you already ARE at the edge of the galaxy. Perhaps you meant the OTHER edge of the galaxy?

Re:Improbability drive? (1)

msaulters (130992) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656771)

However, if a chip can get by without all the double checks to assure absolute certainty, then energy consumption could be slashed -- and speed would get a simultaneous boost. That's the notion behind Palem's concept of probabilistic bits, or Pbits. As he puts it: "Uncertainty, contrary to being an impediment, becomes a resource."
Dude... this is only a FINITE improbability generator. I'll leave it to you to figure out the exact finite improbability of using a few of these to generate an *infinite* improbability field. Glad to brew you a cup of tea, though.

YUO FAIL IT? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656293)

bleak future. In which allows architecture. My the last night of copy a 17 MeG file a productivity *BSD is dying It is Be a lot slower , a proud member

Re:YUO FAIL IT? (2, Funny)

chrome (3506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656314)

genius. Pure genius.

looks like Intel's marketing department (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656332)

... outdid themselves in their preparation for the next Pentium FPU fire drill

We have this now (4, Insightful)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656334)

Before I found memtest [memtest86.com] my computers were VERY unpredicable.

Re:We have this now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656688)

unpredicable.


And your spelling still is. :)

random numbers, yay (4, Funny)

layingMantis (411804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656338)

so a "random" number could be ...actually random right, as opposed to the now deterministically computed pseudo random numbers....how could this NOT be useful!? The AI ramifications alone are fascinating to imagine...

Re:random numbers, yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656550)

actually random right, as opposed to the now deterministically computed pseudo random numbers

But the universe is deterministic. Nothing can escape causality.

Re:random numbers, yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656599)

"Nothing can escape causality."

Nothing, except maybe one man. One hero in a time of prisoners. One rebel out to smash the clockwork of the universe. 'Who is this man?' asks the Newtonian Emperor. It's

THE QUANTUM AVENGER!

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656641)

"Nothing can escape causality."

So all you have to do is convince the universe you are nothing. Sounds like cosmonauts of the future will have to take some classes in Zen Mind States.

Personally, I have been escaping causality for years. But then, I don't really exist...

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

VoidWraith (797276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656647)

So Descartes was wrong, then?

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656779)

Descartes was neither "right" nor "wrong." He was simply positing a point at which to begin his philosophical discourse. I, for one, consider the whole field to be the rantings of a bunch of demented coon dogs, but that's just my opinion. What is (almost) universally recognized is that it has nothing to do with science. I.e., it cannot be used to prove or disprove anything resembling a scientific statement.

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

mike5904 (831108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656653)

But how can you be so certain of this? If we make that assumption, that absolutely *everything* is a direct effect by one or more causes, then theoretically it is possible to predict this event knowing these causes. In an entirely deterministic universe, the complete knowledge of the present state allows for complete prediction of future states for an infinite amount of time. Of course we aren't saved from this, either, so everything we say, do, and even think, is also completely determinable. I'd say there are plenty of people who would disagree with you on that statement.

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656703)

You have never heard of Quantum Mechanics?

Yes this is on topic! (This is why the gate does not open the source drain channel uniformally. God it is going to be fun teaching devices then!)

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656596)

I thought there was hardware to give truly random numbers, it just reads the noise in silicon.

A random error in a digital number doesn't seem to bode well. Might as well stick to analog for those needs, because one of the benefits of digital processing is that transmission and storage errors can be correctable provided proper correction algorithm, and computations can be re-run.

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

RGTAsheron (844946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656801)

Also useful for games. I forget which one but there was a space sim which stored only the initial seed and would generate the same universe of multiple galaxies every time from that single seed instead of storing the positions for every last planet.

Re:random numbers, yay (1)

Kupek (75469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656733)

What AI ramifications?

We've been able to obtain truly random numbers for a long, long time. All you need to do is get information from some physical device - the Linux kernel has a random function that gets some random information from the keyboard. Sound cards work too.

But in most applications, a simple pseudo-random number generator is going to be indistinguishable from truly random numbers.

I heard about this years ago.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656351)

"unpredictability becomes a great asset leading to energy conservation and increased computation speeds"

It's called "scrap," "recycling," and "selling the slower chips to someone else."

Please relax. (2, Funny)

Tibe (444675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656363)

"... three to one... two... one... probability factor of one to one... we have normality, Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem. Please relax."

Little problem (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656379)

While certainly many problems can be solved using less than perfect measures, building an entire chip based on this would not work out so well. For example, while a DSP app might deal fine with small variations in results, a device driver or chunk of crypto code is probably not going to be very happy with close-but-not-quite-right results.

Why do I have a feeling these guys have done simulations with single applications, ignoring the surrounding OS environment?

Intel (2, Funny)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656391)

I'd say that with Intel's various errors over the last fifteen years, like the fourth and ninth digit floating point division errors in the Pentium 60, and the heat throttleback due to normal operating conditions on their newer processors, Intel had done a wonderful job of embracing this new unpredictability technology.

Analog Processor (5, Interesting)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656416)

It sounds like this is just another implementation of an analog processor, which is far from a new idea. Really simple analog processors are just a bit of plastic foam used as a manifold. There's even the idea of having 0, 1, and 1/2 (where 1/2 is seen as uncertain) in something called a Lukasiewicz Logic Array. Anyways, I wish the guy good luck with it, though it might be a good idea if he did some more reading on ideas already presented on the subject.

Obvious google search link:
Google Search for "lukasiewicz analog" [google.com]

Re:Analog Processor (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656736)

And let's not forget Crzmblski's Limit.

Randomness is nothing new (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656461)

There is already acceptable levels of randomness in the form of soft errors. Designs already take into account the fact that you just have to live with a certain rate of error because of cosmic rays or alpha particles. It looks like they are just extending such techniques to transistor tolerances.

Check Apple's Calculator (0)

Sophrosyne (630428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656463)

Where 2+2 always = 4.67345234

Indeterminate Voltage and Bad Fabrication (4, Informative)

Inmatarian (814090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656482)

Intel has hit a brick wall in terms of their processors. They invested heavily in their processor fabrication centers and are now coming to terms that they won't be able to produce reliably anymore. That said, lets discuss the nature of 1s and 0s. Typically, a 0 is broadcast across a chip as a lack of voltage, and a 1 brodcast as a +5 volts. Each transistor has to be capable of being just right of a resistor to not degrade the +5 volts. Heres where "unpredictability" comes into play: you have a handful of volts to play with. The article's talking about having unpredictable algorythms is the press agent not knowing what he's talking about, but certainly allowing a voltage threshold within the confines of the transistors is an okay thing. The only problem is when its across a lot of serial lines, because that compounds into significant loss. This is just my opinion, but I think this guy is talking about chip designs where the data isn't broadcast in 1s and 0s anymore, but in whatever multiples of electronvolts that would correspond to a number. I'm not comfortable with this, and I would like someone to tell me I'm just paranoid.

Re:Indeterminate Voltage and Bad Fabrication (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656524)

5 v is for TTL logic. Your CPU uses lower levels internally, and has for years.

Parent is correct; GP is ... lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656657)

Yeah, i read that too as was like, "damn, someone isn't an EE". Hell, i'm not, but took enough classes on fab and silicon to know that was bunk.

Re:Indeterminate Voltage and Bad Fabrication (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656745)

Okay. You're paranoid. But we are still out to get you.

example (0, Redundant)

lithium57 (839959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656501)

Google is a great example of what you can achieve with probabilistic techniques. They have to deal with tons of information but still provide you with a quick answer.

This is how researchers make their money. (0, Troll)

cosmicpossum (554246) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656513)

University researchers make money by getting grants from industry and government. They get these grants by getting publicity in the business press. This is just a plea for money.

Nothing to see here, move along...

Probabilistic algorithms (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656548)

In college, my professor challenged the entire class to find an algorithm that takes an array, and returns a single value larger than the median of values in the array, in sub-linear time.

Naturally, he had us stumped, because the task is impossible. Without checking at least half the numbers, you can't be sure of the answer.

But, he pointed out, here's what you can do: pick 1000 numbers from the array at random and return the largest - a constant time operation! This "algorithm" just might return a wrong answer. But the chances of that happening are far less than the odds that you're in a nuthouse hallucinating this message right now. The odds are far less than the liklihood that a computer would botch a deterministic algorithm during executation anyways. The odds of making a mistake with the algorithm are 0, for all intents and purposes. So is that OK?

Re:Probabilistic algorithms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656590)

a single value larger than the median? return the maximum of the represented data type.

Unless I've not understood the problem, that's a guaranteed answer within the limits of the computer's ability to determine.

Re:Probabilistic algorithms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656619)

That's really easy. Take the upper size limit for double-precision (or whatever type can go to the highest number for whichever was the official course language) and return that. Or better yet, something higher - maybe even a "divide by zero". :)

Re:Probabilistic algorithms (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656699)

You have to be careful. Given an array of 999,999 copies of the number 63, and a single 64, that probabilistic method has a 99.9% chance of failing.

Depending on the scenario, that degenerate case can be quite common.

Re:Probabilistic algorithms (2, Informative)

theguywhosaid (751709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656752)

heh, 63 is the median in your given array. since the returned value does not need to be in the array, just add 1 and return that. or multiply by some large constant. or just return the sum of all the numbers you encountered. theres lots of options here.

One can do even faster... (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656845)

Assuming e.g. an array of ints the answer to this problem is:

return INT_MAX;

more info (5, Informative)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656569)

This article left me rather insatisfied, so I looked for a better one. I found it here [gatech.edu] , a collection of papers on the subject, with real-world results, it seems. The first article is a nice overview, and there's some pics of odd-looking silicon. They have funding from DARPA, interestingly enough.

Re:more info (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656591)

Oh, heh, it's by the same people and research group featured in the article.

Re:more info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656639)

Oh, Boltzman machines and Bayesian learning.

Yay, neural nets!

and of course, nobody actually READS the article. (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656608)

The article mentions how they just work with the fact that transistors don't match. Well, engineers have been working with mismatched transistors ever since the transistor was invented.

I, for one... (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656609)

That is one step closer to a human-like AI -- reminds me of a neural net. The technology from TFA may be just what they (computers) need to become like us: i.e. an ability to make quick decisions about complex problems, and succeeding more often than failing.

I, for one, welcome our unpredictable silicon overlords.

In the future (0)

ICECommander (811191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656616)

Password: ********
I'm sorry it appears the password you have entered is incorrect. This could be due to the fact that the processor is unsure of the binary encoding of your password, have a nice day.

Re:In the future (0, Offtopic)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656765)

No, in the future, it doesn't matter whatever you put in, it will say "close enough". Or "sorry". or "It depends". Or "Since I'm only 80% sure you should be logged in, I'm ignoring 20% of your keystrokes and mouse clicks - have a nice day."
On February 7th, Russ Nelson (Open Source Initiative president) published an article called "Blacks are lazy", quoted in journal entries here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] .

Please consider signing the online petition [petitiononline.com] asking OSI to remove Russ Nelson.

But is it really useful? (1)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656627)

I can remember sitting in a meeting (just listening) on a future Sematech roadmap... I remember the discussion about the dopant levels in gates at the end of the roadmap and I did a quick calculation of the number of B atoms required.... It was 3. 2 would not work nor would 4. (This is indivudual atoms of B not density etc) I was amazed. (I think that the node was the second one past 45 nm - which should be about 20 nm - I don't remember.) Now we seem to have someone saying that we can live with the 30%+ error...... Sounds more like trusting a drunk to give you directions home.

bad story (3, Insightful)

msblack (191749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656722)

It's rather a poorly-written article with a lot of 1950's science fiction predictions about the future. The field of fuzzy algorithms has existed for ages. Fuzzy algorithms don't rely on random results. Rather, they use the "p-bits" to perform their calculations. P-bits are not the same as random bits. On the contrary, p-bits are "don't care" or "flexible" values that take into account multiple possibilities at the same time.

Random results are terrible because they are random. The scientific method [rochester.edu] depends upon experiments that can be repeated by other researchers. You can't base a theory on results that don't correlate with the inputs. You can repeat the experiment to obtain a probablistic model but not certainty.

A computer chip that yields unpredictable results is not going to magically recognize the image of a chair, much less a face because a chip that can't execute a program is more akin to the movie Short Circuit where the appliances go whacky. To me the author confuses the concept of fuzzy algorithms with random trials.

In other news... (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656753)

Famous ex-wrestler, turned programmer, Zangief, claims that the unpredictability in his programs is not caused by bugs, but by a "energy conservation" feature!

GOD HATES FAGS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656766)

What do you think about the Tsunami that hit Asia on December 26, 2004? Was it God's wrath? What about the children who were killed?

The tsunami was an adumbration of the wrath of God, a harbinger of things to come: that Great Day of Judgment. Amos 3:6 "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" That word translated "evil" there means distress, misery, injury, calamity. The answer, of course, to the rhetorical question posed in this verse is a resounding "NO!" See also Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" And you wonder if this is the wrath of God?

The lands affected by this judgment from God aren't just full of idolatry; we're talking about places (think Thailand) that are hot spots where American businessmen travel for the express purpose of fornicating with young Asian children. It is a thriving industry over there; many of these girls are taken into that business when they are seven years old or younger. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" Col 3:5-6. And you wonder if this is the wrath of God?

Not to mention the fact that those Asian countries weren't the only ones affected by the tsunami. Do you realize that among the dead and missing are 20,000 Swedes and over 3,000 Americans? Filthy Swedes went to Thailand - world epicenter of child sex traffic - to rape and sodomize little Thai boys and girls. 20,000 dead Swedes is to Sweden's population of 9 million as 650,000 would be to America's 290 million population. We sincerely hope and pray that all 20,000 Swedes are dead, their bodies bloated on the ground or in mass graves or floating at sea feeding sharks and fishes or in the bellies of thousands of crocodiles washed ashore by tsunamis. These filthy, faggot Swedes have a satanic, draconian law criminalizing Gospel preaching, under which they prosecuted, convicted and sentenced Pastor Ake Green to jail - thereby incurring God's irreversible wrath: "He suffered no man to do them wrong; yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." Psa. 105:14,15. America, who is awash in diseased fag feces & semen, and is an apostate land of the sodomite damned. Let us pray that God will send a massive Tsunami to totally devastate the North American continent with 1000-foot walls of water doing 500 mph -- even as islands in southern Asia have recently been laid waste, with but a small remnant surviving. And you wonder if this is the wrath of God?

As far as God killing children in His wrath, have you ever heard of the great flood? God destroyed billions of people in His wrath, including billions of children. "And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die." Genesis 6:17. Have you ever heard of Sodom and Gomorrah? God destroyed all of them in His wrath, including children. "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground." Genesis 19:24,25. Have you ever heard of the plagues of Egypt? God killed the firstborn child of every family in Egypt in His wrath. "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." Exodus 12:29,30. Have you ever heard of the Amalekites? God commanded Saul to kill all of them - including infants and sucklings. "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." 1 Samuel 15:3. Have you ever heard of the Babylonian Captivity? God destroyed countless people in His wrath, including children. "Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain." Jeremiah 44:7. Have you ever heard of September 11, 2001? God destroyed thousands in His wrath, including children. "The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs." Deuteronomy 32:25. Filthy fags and pedophiles have been going to Asia for many, many years to have sex with little children - and suddenly you're worried about children? Shame on you. It is God's prerogative to kill children to punish their evil, Godless, vile, filthy parents and others who were raising them for the devil anyway; they are most certainly better off now than they were in the hands of such evil people. He always has done that, and He always will. Deal with it. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33. Furthermore, there's no such thing as an innocent person, regardless of age: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." Romans 5:12-14.

Re:GOD HATES FAGS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656786)

They have drugs that can help you with your issues. Please see a kind doctor and allow him to put that nice white suit with the long sleeves on you. It will make you feel better

I wonder how the authour would feel (1)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11656772)

if he was flying on an aircraft controlled by systems that gave somewhat unpredictable results.

fond memories of bygone trollz...i'm hte fonz...ey (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11656840)

GNAA IS ALIVE AND I AM LYSOL FUCKERS (Score:-1, Troll)
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G__________ana_naa__an___nnn______________________ ________E
N__________ananan___nn___aan_IGGER________________ ________R
A__________nnna____naa____________________________ ________S
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N________ananaannn_AY_____________________________ ________S
A________ana____nn_________IRC-EFNET-#GNAA________ ________S
A_______nn_____na_________________________________ ________O
*_______aaaan_____________________________________ ________C
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