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1998-06-01 09:36:43


40 Billion Chips: Latest Estimate



David Hall now estimates that there are 40 billion chips and microprocessors. The standard estimate is 25 billion.

This is from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (May 18).

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At a special briefing for Capitol Hill staffers set up by ITAA and the House & Senate IT Congressional Working Groups, Cara Corporation Embedded Systems Specialist David C. Hall stated that there are over 40 billion microprocessors worldwide, and anywhere from one to ten percent may be impacted by the date change. Embedded systems process information, monitor and control system functions and are integrated into everything from bank vaults to bottling plants. Hall said that embedded system failures will cause one of three outcomes: systems may i) shutdown, ii) produce large, observable errors or iii) small, less noticeable errors. He said 80 percent of the total Y2K effort may be expended fixing automated control and embedded systems. In demonstrating the ripple effect of the problem, Hall described an oil company that has determined the need to replace thousands of chips controlling an oil dispensation system. The chips, he said, do not fit on the existing motherboards and new motherboards do not fit into existing valves. As a result, the valves themselves will have to be replaced, Hall said. Hall also claimed that no plant or factory tested to date has been found free of all Y2K related problems.


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