Every single person who owns, or uses a computer has experienced a full system crash at one point in their lives.  Some little hiccup that causes the entire machine to seize up and freeze.  Whether you were running a program that couldn’t be interrupted,or lost the last few hour’s worth of words, you’re stress level has gone through the roof because, when it comes down to it, computers really are dumb.
DisableAutoRestartIt turns out computers can’t actually do more than one thing at a time, and that is their greatest weakness.  If one little problem arises it can cause everything to come to a grinding halt, and voila, it crash city! 
Computer scientists at University College London think they may be able to make computer crashes a thing of the past.  They believe they have found a way to have computers run “systematically” where instructions are divvied up and processed separately and simultaneously, rather than “sequentially” where all the information is essentially in a cue, waiting to be processed one bit before the other. 

Computers that run systematically would have an advantage over traditional sequential computers because if a problem arises in one area, the other information being processed won’t be held up.  When problem code does arise, that area just reloads a clean copy stored elsewhere on the computer. 

273643-computer-rageSo, what does this mean for all of us who have contemplated putting our fists through our monitors at one point or another?  Unfortunately, relatively little.  This technology, if it works, would most likely be relegated to the world of research and science.  Since every computer in the world works sequentially they wouldn’t understand how to work with systematic machines.  So, for the foreseeable future, you can expect more unexpected crashes. Yay…

What really interests me, if you’ll allow a brief SciFi tangent, is what this sort of computer system means for artificial intelligence.  In other words, is this the very first step in creating a computer that can handle the vast amount of information that our brains can?  Systematic computing is based off the way neurons in our brain function.  Essentially, creating a systematic computer is tantamount to creating a primitive synthetic brain.  Perhaps I’m making a huge, incongruous leap here, but I’d say its worth pondering.   

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