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Haven’t we all felt the urge to throw our laptop against the wall when the screen goes blank at 3 am and totally wipes hours of hard work?
To prevent those frustrating computer crashes, scientists at University College London (UCL) have created a self-healing computer. The “systemic” machine, according to a report in the New Scientist, can instantly recover corrupted data.
The invention is expected to have far-reaching consequences for physicians and the military. It could allow drones to recover from combat damage in a matter of seconds, or create a more realistic model of the human brain.
The team behind the systemic computer built it to be able to respond to random and unpredictable events. Computers were originally designed to follow a linear set of instructions, and can only consider one thing at a time.
“Even when it feels like your computer is running all your software at the same time, it is just pretending to do that, flicking its attention very quickly between each program,” Peter Bentley, a computer scientist at UCL, said in an interview with the New Scientist.
Together with his colleague Christos Sakellariou, Bentley re-engineered a new computer that thinks more like the human brain.
Anant Jhingran, who has been considered the brains behind IBM’s super computer “Watson,” said that new computing systems are designed to “mimic the real world better.” The vice president of products at Apigee, a “big data” analytics company, said IBM has spent years building computers that “observe and then react” like humans do.
The trick is a safety in numbers approach: The new computer contains multiple copies of its instructions across its individual systems, so if one fails, it can access a clean copy and repair itself.
In the future, Bentley’s team will incorporate machine learning, so if you’re sitting outside working and the temperature gets too high, the computer will respond to preemptively prevent a crash.
The next generation of school kids may need to come up with a more creative excuse for failing to turn in work on time!
Computer crash image via © RDaniel // Shutterstock