Another reason we’re different from the machines …

Yale Scientists Explain Why Computers Crash But We Don’t
Yale University (05/03/10) Hathaway, Bill

Yale University researchers have described why computers tend to malfunction more than living organisms by analyzing the control networks in both an E-coli bacterium and the Linux operating system. Both systems are arranged in hierarchies, but with some key differences in how they achieve operational efficiencies.

The molecular networks in the bacteria are arranged in a pyramid, with a limited number of master regulator genes at the top that control a wide base of specialized functions. The Linux operating system is set up more like an inverted pyramid, with many different top-level routines controlling a few generic functions at the bottom.

“This organization arises because software engineers tend to save money and time by building on existing routines rather than starting systems from scratch,” says Yale professor Mark Gerstein.

“But it also means the operating system is more vulnerable to breakdowns because even simple updates to a generic routine can be very disruptive,” Gerstein says.

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Just for the record, I crash on a pretty regular basis.  I call it sleep. 

Well, maybe that’s hibernating, not crashing.  I think I crash periodically, too, and have to get schnockered to reboot.

Urban Word of the Day

May 7: fat finger

verb, the act of performing a typo. Often used when referring to password typos. See Fat Finger Disease

“I thought the server was down, but I just fat fingered my password.”

“You didn’t get my email? I must have fat fingered the address.”

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Now, I think that fat-finger and fat-fingered needs a hyphen in between the words.  Anyone else?  Obviously not the Urban Dictionary.