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How leap seconds benefit and harm the technology we use

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Most people probably don’t know how leap seconds work or how they affect technology. So here’s how it affects Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

few people know of the existence of leap second, what they do, or how they affect the technologies we use every day like the internet. This adjustment is necessary to align the calendar with the astronomical seasons. In the past, the general consensus was that leap seconds were necessary to perform functions similar to leap years. However, this belief is no longer held firmly in the corner of the scientific community responsible for keeping the world’s time.

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Oddly enough, leap seconds are not as old as hours. It’s been since 1972. That was the year the International Earth Rotating System Service (IERS) decided to add an extra “tick” to the world’s clocks to synchronize it with the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. per year. Earth’s rotation has slowed gradually over the past million years. The addition of leap seconds is an intentional deviation from International Atomic Time (TAI). In the 50 years since that first adjustment, the same process has been repeated 27 times. Twenty-seven times in 50 years isn’t a normal occurrence, but that occasional tweak is enough to occasionally wreak havoc on a system many people rely on. For this reason, it has fallen out of favor with people who believe that fiddling with time is a high-risk business.

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Most of that risk is related to machines and how humans rely on them to ensure accuracy. When his Linux system was running his 2012 social news and discussion site Reddit, it couldn’t keep up with the extra leap second. His web security company, Cloudflare, faced a similar problem in 2017 when it added leap seconds. A negative value was recorded for one of the Domain Name System (DNS) servers, which should be at most zero. The company quickly fixed the error, but had to apologize to the customer for the inconvenience. Computer programs and servers run on protocols that tell them what to do and when to do it. They can malfunction for various reasons. If the program is supposed to run the Y function 100ms after X happens, his whole second added to the mix is ​​worse than the ghost of the machine. Ironically, every extra second can detract from a computer’s ability to perform 200 trillion math calculations per second. The added leap second is a rare line of code that has never been tested, so it’s a hit or miss task fraught with uncertainty. For many tech companies, this represents unnecessary risk. In a July 2022 blog post, technology company Meta announced it would stop adding leap seconds. said, “Every leap second is a major pain point for those who manage hardware infrastructureThe post argued that it was time to introduce new technology to replace this artificial adjustment.

Leap seconds are a headache for hardware infrastructure

Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have also announced that they will stop adding leap seconds. This is because technology companies “BleedFor example, Google slows down its server clocks so that one second is approximately 11.6 microseconds slower than a standard second. According to the tech giant, this is, therefore, just an attempt to pre-emptively combat internet outages and other damage that leap seconds can cause.

Google is also poised to end with smearing and leap seconds, much like its peers’ technology. There is not much a human can do about the time shifts caused by the Earth’s motion other than to hold the Earth still on its axis for one tenth of his second every three years. Also, Meta does not elaborate on the new technology that will replace leap seconds. Instead, it explains the problem of this phenomenon in which a spinning figure skater extends and retracts her arms to increase and decrease her speed and maintain rotational momentum. It can be said that it represents extending or shortening time as you do. It is a never-ending but necessary operation.insert leap second Getting into this movement causes disorientation at best. At worst, it leads to costly disruption of the world’s technological infrastructure.

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Source: Meta

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