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Redundancy in hardware is one problem. But then all those CPUs still run the same software.

After Ariane 5 crashed spectacularly due to a software error that affected the two on board computers and the ground control unit likewise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_5_Flight_501), there had been talk about having the same software be developed by multiple, independent teams, and then use the different versions for error correction. Sounds like a crazy idea and probably won't work, but I don't really know of a better solution either.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-version_programming It's used in Airbus planes, for instance.

Of course, it's useless if the specification is wrong, and the assumption that the differing versions will fail in different ways seems to not hold water.


IIRC, that's more or less how the DNS root servers are managed--they're not just in different locations, they're running different server software on different OS's, to minimize the chance that any one problem could take all of them out.


Wouldn't that just make it worse? "Oh it failed, let's see if the other team had a better idea... [5 minutes later] Nope, they used the same algorithm but it can't talk to this algorithm"




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