Saturday, February 23, 2008

Once in a blue moon

This stems from an passing remark one of my profs (I guess he has to be David Eckhardt) made during his lecture:
"Every once in a while occurs a million times in the processor!"

programmer B: Aahh... forget about that case, I wouldn't worry about it. It won't happen.
programmer A: What? Never? Are you sure? Really Never?
programmer B: Hmm... Well, what I meant was, it would happen only very very rarely. Once in a blue moon, you know. With negligibly low probability.
programmer A: How low, 1 in million, billion, trillion? (lets use billion for simplicity)
programmer B: Hmm... 1 in a billion, that is 1 followed by 9 zeroes, 1/10^9 == 0.000000001 ~~beaming with bright eyes~~~ Yes, I guess so. You see, it's really unlikely to happen. It'll be right 99.999999999% of the times!
programmer A: My dear friend, at blazing CPU speeds of 1 GHz, 1*10^9 => 1*10^9 == 1 billion intructions/actions happening every freaking second, your '1 in a billion' would occur once every second, 60 times every minute 3600 times every hour! And I'm not even taking about 24x7 servers!
programmer B: Darn! Holy s_!t

Just to illustrates why the job of a system programmer is so tough. He has to be right EVERY single time! 99.9999999999999... is next to useless! His program has to run correct a 100% of the times, PERIOD!

On a similar note...
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
-Mitch Radcliffe

3 comments:

Vehement Citizen said...

Great one Atul...

Cheers :)
Chandresh

Sagar Bhanagay said...

Good one!

Kasturi said...

A lot of updates i guess!! i dont believe how unpredictable life gets when u r doing ur MS! right from weather to ur choices of classes! been there done that is wat i can say!