Issue No. 04 - April (1979 vol. 12)
The conference theme of "exploding technology" seemed particularly appropriate to Session 18, "Integrating Semiconductor Memories into Systems," which probed some of the problems attendant upon increasing chip densities. Discussing alpha particle bombardments, Michael Geilhufe of Intel described the effects of such phenomena as random, non-recurring, single-bit errors. The rate of these "soft errors" today, said Geilhufe, is an order of magnitude greater than hard error rates. For example, with an error rate of 0.1 percent per 1K hours for a 16K RAM, a 16 x 64K memory would have an MTTF of 1.75 years, whereas a 16-megabyte memory would only have a MTTF of less than four days. Memory design alternatives such as automatic error correction, periodic memory purges, and systems redundancy must be considered. Periodic memory purges may be necessary since soft errors may accumulate in infrequently accessed memory regions.
F. Mathur, "Compcon Wrap-up," in Computer, vol. 12, no. , pp. 91-93, 1979.