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Pentium Microprcessor

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Pentium Microprocessor Flaw
The Pentium Microprocessor Flaw was in the floating point math section. The most famous example is the case 4195835/3145727. The division results were off by approximately sixty-one parts per million. The way this issue was discovered was by a math professor at Lynchburg college by the name of, Thomas Nicely, this college was located in Virginia. He discovered this flaw in summer/fall of 1994. While he was computing the sum of the reciprocals of a large collection of prime numbers. Checking his computation, he found the result differed from theoretical values. So he decided to try the same program but on a different computer. He tired a computer with a 486 CPU, and came up with the correct results. So going bac onto a 486DX CPU he tracked the error himself on the Pentium itself. After not getting a straight forward response to his initial queries to Intel and after checking his facts multiple times, he nicely posted a general notice on the internet asking others to see if they came up with the same results as he did. After that post he got a couple magazine interviews and shortly after even CNN interviewed him. Intel publicly announced that, “an error is only likely to occur [about] once in nine billion random floating point divides,” and that, “an average spreadsheet user could encounter this subtle flaw once in every 27,00 years of use.” While critics stated that while hitting a pair of bad inputs was highly unlikely, the Pentiums output for those inputs was wrong every single time. November 28, 1994 or somewhere close to the time was when Intel first publically admitted the problem, in Intel’s policy. It was to replace Pentium chips only for those who could explain their need of high accuracy in complex calculations. For example, a math professor. Many clients ensued great public outcries on the issue. By late December Intel announced a free replacement Pentium for any owner who asked for one. In my opinion I don’t think that Intel addressed this issue properly. Regardless of the fact that the flaw didn’t affect all microprocessor, it actually only affected a small portion of customers. Intel should had made it clear that it was possible for an error to occur. When customers would call intel regarding issues to the flaw, Intel would input a certain code to check that it was in fact the problem. Intel then would implement a solution. If Intel had openly accepted the issues of the flaw and informed the clients about the issues they were having, it probably would have saved some them quite a bit of cash and also a good reputation to the company itself and also to its clients. This decision had a lot of upset customers. If this same type of flaw was to be found in a CPU today, the company would be setting itself for failure. With a problem in the floating pint math subsection with an error of approximately sixty-one parts per million, this would give the client an abundant number of problems. Not to mention that Intel declined to the opportunity to inform their customers and supply a solution first hand. If anything like that were to happen today, many customers would probably just take their business somewhere else.…...

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