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Pentium Bug Revisited

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathLand)
Description: The incident that triggered a barrage of ridicule occurred in the fall of 1994, a few months after Intel had introduced its Pentium microprocessor. The furor started with an e-mail message from Thomas R. Nicely, a mathematician at Lynchburg College in Virginia, who was doing computations related to the distribution of prime numbers. Nicely pointed out that the chip gave incorrect answers to certain floating-point (decimal) division calculations. Other users quickly confirmed the problem and identified additional examples in which an error occurs.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Algorithms, History and Biography, Engineering, Computer Systems

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