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Old 20 February 2020, 04:45   #21
Pyromania
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Extremely interesting stuff to read about E-Penguin, thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 21 February 2020, 00:18   #22
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Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
- Older (or rather, less dense) ICs are manufactured with larger fab processes. Larger conductors and components within a chip are less susceptible to corruption from cosmic rays than smaller parts are. So while random bit-flipping is to be expected, it will happen more often per byte in a 1GB RAM chip than a 1MB one for example.
We certainly have less dense chips, although we are getting towards early-2010s capacities in some cases. We have solid state memories with capacity close to 1TiB (SDRAM), which is actively "scrubbed" to deal with bit flips. It's massive though, physically, like a desktop PC. Errors do happen with alarming regularity but as long as they're correctable they have no impact. That reminds me, I should probably see how our error counters are looking now.... A job for tomorrow!


Quote:
- You simply don't need new tech. There might be a lot of data flowing here and there, but it's not like you need to render 5 million textured polygons/second, decode 4K video on the fly or do fancy web page rendering. So why have more processing power and storage that would never get used, when older, more mature tech will do it just fine?
Exactly. Excess capacity is just more stuff that can go wrong! The instruments tend to be miracles of engineering though. Because of tight bandwidth constraints (100s of kbps on average on the downlink) the big cameras need to do data reduction onboard, which takes lots of processing. One has a sort of dynamic multi-core supercomputer used to do science processing on the fly, something usually done on ground. But they're only that complicated because they need to be.

I'd love to go into some more details of the things we've learnt in the first few days but it's probably more than I'm allowed to say. Keep an eye out on the esa website though, anything that gets publicly released will go there.
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Old 21 February 2020, 14:41   #23
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A job for tomorrow!
Sigh, I wish I hadn't looked now, I've made more work for myself. Ignorance is bliss...
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