Tracking Down a Single-Bit RAM Error

Hanji writes “We have discussed here before the potential effects of and protections against cosmic ray radiation, but for the average computer user, it’s an obscure threat that doesn’t affect them in any real way. Well, here’s a blog post that describes a strange segfault and, after extensive debugging, traces it down to a single bit flip, probably caused by a stray cosmic ray. Lots of helpful descriptions of Linux debugging techniques in this one, and a pretty clear demonstration that this can be a real problem. I know I’m never buying a desktop without ECC RAM ever again!” The author acknowledges that it might not have been a cosmic ray-based error, but the troubleshooting steps are interesting no matter what the cause.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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