Friday, January 06, 2006

Airplanes and Byzantine faults

If you've taken a software engineering from me you might remember that I talk about safety critical systems (such as avionics), super low failure rates of less than 10^-9 per operational hour, formal methods, and maybe even Byzantine fault tolerance.

In early August 2005 a B777 flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur had software problems. The FAA issued an emergency AD (airworthiness directive) later that month.

This incident was noted and explained in at least two posting on the Risks Forum:
in volume 24 issue 03, and in volume 24 issue 05.