Scientists develop computer that never crashes

By on February 15, 2013, 11:00 AM

Depending on what you are doing, a computer crash can be classified as anything from a minor annoyance to a complete disaster. I’ve been experiencing some BSODs lately of unknown origin and let me be the first to tell you, it’s pretty darn annoying when you are right in the middle of something important – like work – and everything shuts down before you get a chance to save.

Fortunately, researchers and scientists at the University College London have come up with a solution they say will end computer crashes forever.

Today’s computers typically work procedurally by pulling data from memory, working on the data then sending it back to memory. This usually happens in a fixed order and until something goes wrong, all is well. When a process fails or crashes for whatever reason, however, everything hits the fan and the computer will often times lock up.

The computer that UCL has developed is different in the fact that data and instructions are essentially mirrored across several different systems. The systems work simultaneously although independent of each other – the only thing they share is a section of memory for context-sensitive data.

In the event that one system crashes or data becomes corrupted, the computer is able to rebuild that set of data from another system and start fresh again. The systems are said to execute in a random order using a pseudorandom number generator that acts as a task scheduler.

At this point, performance isn’t all that great but there’s certainly room to improve upon. If you’re interested in learning more about this developing technology, the developers will present their findings at the IEEE International Conference on Evolvable Systems in April.

Group of technicians repair illustration (homepage) by Shutterstock.




User Comments: 36

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2 people like this | Lurker101 said:

Bethesda develops an open world game for the uncrashable computer. Game CTDs within an hour.

In all seriousness though, I find it hard to believe, regardless of whatever methodology they have behind it, there's no way there's a system to ensure a computer will never crash. To say otherwise is to grossly underestimate the capabilities of human stupidity.

Guest said:

So, how does all this differ from a simple automated backup? Or how does protect from semantic bugs?

PinothyJ said:

The irony is not lost on me that my browser locked up whilst reading this page?

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

What? Does that mean we admit *nix computers crash, too?

NeoFlux said:

Is this "thing" is hardware or software based?

Guest said:

Oh come on...! My comp never crashes. I DON'T USE M$OFT WINDOWS!!!

Seth Ramsay Seth Ramsay said:

MIRRORED RAID! thats all this is except that it reopens the file from the mirrored hdd/sdd, nothing special

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Bethesda develops an open world game for the uncrashable computer. Game CTDs within an hour.

In all seriousness though, I find it hard to believe, regardless of whatever methodology they have behind it, there's no way there's a system to ensure a computer will never crash. To say otherwise is to grossly underestimate the capabilities of human stupidity.

What is so hard to believe? Unless something goes wrong with the rom. Maybe servers would be really interested in this.

Guest said:

This is really very little/not different from triple-redundant systems already used today. You aren't making a computer that can't crash. You're just giving it multiple chances to not fail. If all of them happen to fail at once, then you crash (which is entirely possible if the software its running wasn't written correctly in the first place, which is usually the main form of crashes). Nothing new to see here.

Guest said:

If a computer crashes, most of the time it is because it was badly programmed.

If you let 2 computers calculate the same instructions they'll both crash.

If you want to avoid crashes due to hardware faults, you can allready implement VMware Vmotion stuff or Oracle RAC, etc...

Could have missed the point here

Lurker101 said:

What is so hard to believe?

The word 'never'.

Ma_ga said:

The "never" part is hard to believe, since a lot of the problems are due to programing bugs/error more than machine's one, so no matter how many backups there are, if the outcome is a crash....

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Wow, cool concept. So from this article I'm assuming that this is in fact hardware, not software based correct? It would be way better if it was actually software based, where the OS writes things to RAM a different way or something... but that way it can be adapted to be used with current systems.

cmbjive said:

"At this point, performance isn?t all that great but there?s certainly room to improve upon."

So does this mean that the uncrashable computer crashed as often as a normal computer or crashed more often?

Lurker101 said:

So does this mean that the uncrashable computer crashed as often as a normal computer or crashed more often?

It sounds more like the computer doesn't go fast enough to crash. Instead it just falls over.

Zeromus said:

Not a single intelligent comment in this thread.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Not a single intelligent comment in this thread.

Of course we can't match your intellect, oh your majesty who thinks he is smarter then everyone.

Anyway I don't see why not, if you keep electricity going to the machine.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

How boring would it be for us techies if our PC's and laptops didn't crash? VERY BORING!

In the business world, it's a great idea, I just don't want 'em in my house.

Zeromus said:

Of course we can't match your intellect, oh your majesty who thinks he is smarter then everyone.

Anyway I don't see why not, if you keep electricity going to the machine.

I suppose it's my fault for being here lol.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Not a single intelligent comment in this thread.

and not a single **** was given

...I logged in just to say that NOT as a guest.

fullmetalvegan fullmetalvegan said:

Oh come on...! My comp never crashes. I DON'T USE M$OFT WINDOWS!!!

Mine never crashes either! Haven't had a crash in the last few years that I even remember when it was. I use Windows 7/8.

MrBungle said:

Overclock all the processing systems a bit too far and I bet it will crash...

Zeromus said:

and not a single **** was given

...I logged in just to say that NOT as a guest.

Your welcome.

Sphynx Sphynx said:

Oh come on...! My comp never crashes. I DON'T USE M$OFT WINDOWS!!!

Mine never crashes either! Haven't had a crash in the last few years that I even remember when it was. I use Windows 7/8.

Same here. I have never had a single crash on my Windows 7 and 8. Methinks Guest must be using old Windows versions (I.e. Windows 95/98/ME).

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Define "never crashes"... We have had the ability to create systems free of deadlock for a long time. Do you think a space agency would send anything into space that has the ability to deadlock and freeze up? I mean, the London guys took a slightly different approach but this article needs to take into account the current state of art.

Guest said:

Yes, *nix computers crash. But at least I know why they crash - me. Both my Windows and Linux experiences are frought with deadlocks that require the use of the Big Shiny Button to recover, but the Linux crashes usually immediately follow my entering a wonky command or trying something outside the box. Windows, on the same hardware, explodes randomly and gives me nothing human-readable to troubleshoot the issue.

For reference, I've locked up a Ti-83 Plus to the point that the batteries had to come out.

Guest said:

Never say never! I dare them to give that computer to my sister. It will crash in seconds!

JC713 JC713 said:

I gotta say, if you have the right hardware, crashes are rare

satty said:

Bethesda develops an open world game for the uncrashable computer. Game CTDs within an hour.

In all seriousness though, I find it hard to believe, regardless of whatever methodology they have behind it, there's no way there's a system to ensure a computer will never crash. To say otherwise is to grossly underestimate the capabilities of human stupidity.

What is so hard to believe? Unless something goes wrong with the rom. Maybe servers would be really interested in this.

Because no matter how flawless hardware may be, software will always have bugs

Guest said:

In order for this computer to never crash, it should never be powered on, or never connected to the internet, infected by installing windows, and remain free of human interaction.

Tygerstrike said:

I guess the best verbage that you could use is "that it has never crashed since powering it up". That would be a more accurate statement for them. Its just sad that all the ney sayers are jumping on them for ONE WORD!! Provided that it hasnt crashed since powering on, it stands to reason that with regular use that it prolly wouldnt crash NORMALLY. That in and of itself is pretty impresive.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

If a computer crashes, most of the time it is because it was badly programmed.

If you let 2 computers calculate the same instructions they'll both crash.

If you want to avoid crashes due to hardware faults, you can allready implement VMware Vmotion stuff or Oracle RAC, etc...

Could have missed the point here

My thoughts too... how many crashes are *not* from bad hardware/bad writes to memory? I would think *most*? Sounds like a load of crap to me...

avoidz avoidz said:

Oh come on...! My comp never crashes. I DON'T USE M$OFT WINDOWS!!!

Mine never crashes either! Haven't had a crash in the last few years that I even remember when it was. I use Windows 7/8.

Same here. I have never had a single crash on my Windows 7 and 8. Methinks Guest must be using old Windows versions (I.e. Windows 95/98/ME).

Same again. Since XP, Windows has been very stable.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

This solution is both a hardware and a software solution. It is an alternate scheduling methodology: [link]

For reference, servers are slower than desktop computers, which are slower than for example a PS3. However, the accuracy of the CPU's is the other way around.

This proposed solution increases the 'accuracy', hence slowing it down.

Guest said:

None of my Windows 7 PCs have ever crashed.

I can't even recall the last time I saw a PC crash that wasn't caused by illegal software.

Guest said:

"Never" crashes until the hardware breaks.

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