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[TR] NASA's $2.5bn Curiosity rover: Apple PowerBook specs on wheels - Page 9

post #81 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post

Isn't a powerful CPU a must for scientific research? Assuming that analyzing the chemical compounds, taking hi-res pictures requires a lot of cpu power, why would they go with an ancient IBM cpu?
Taking high res photos can be done on a point and shoot camera--the PPC is a powerhouse in comparison to the processors in those.

Analysis, more than a few days of storage, and data manipulation shouldn't be handled by the rover. That would be horribly impractical--you can expect entire data centers to be rearranging the data in order to find interesting patterns for years to come. Hell, you could take days on a modern computer just running different combinations of post-processing filters on the raw photographic data.
    
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post #82 of 183
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Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post

I just don't get it. Why use such an old architecture when you could get like 10x (probably more) perfomance with an extremely power efficient ARM cpu or perhaps an ULW x86 cpu? I'm sure strengthening ARM or x86 against radiation is also possible.
Isn't a powerful CPU a must for scientific research? Assuming that analyzing the chemical compounds, taking hi-res pictures requires a lot of cpu power, why would they go with an ancient IBM cpu?

It's about what the guys I worked with for a while in the industry call 'heritage'.

You want something that has a proven track record, and you know it's as reliable as you can make it.

Modern processors are more complex, therefore more to go wrong.

The (fairly crude) example they gave me when we were talking about their main communications satellite design they sell is this:
Imagine expecting a car to run 24/7 for a lifetime of 15-20 years, with zero servicing and zero repairs.

It's no good sending your $2.5 billion rover to mars only to find it doesn't work when you get there. You don't need the power of more modern CPUs when an older, more reliable one will do. And as I said, the increased complexity is seen as a disadvantage.
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post #83 of 183
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post

I just don't get it. Why use such an old architecture when you could get like 10x (probably more) perfomance with an extremely power efficient ARM cpu or perhaps an ULW x86 cpu? I'm sure strengthening ARM or x86 against radiation is also possible.
Isn't a powerful CPU a must for scientific research? Assuming that analyzing the chemical compounds, taking hi-res pictures requires a lot of cpu power, why would they go with an ancient IBM cpu?

I'll put into some terms many of us can understand. Many people like Intel SSDs due to their reliability, though they were a bit slower than the others (example Intel 320).
post #84 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordikon View Post

For anyone curious about NASA's testing standards (at least for software), I found this article interesting:
http://www.fastcompany.com/28121/they-write-right-stuff

On the flipside..... government contractors write code to just get it done and move on. Corporate coders have more long-term vested interest.


I believe there was a study on SQL Injections..... government sites had more and longer. They guys who build the pages move on to other things or just bought as a package.
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post #85 of 183
It bothers me that people in this thread are saying that they could have easily chosen a much faster, modern CPU. It isn't exactly that easy. When they started this project, they had to choose the best CPU for the job. It has to be able to withstand the conditions of space (Don't think you'll find anything too fast in that category) and it has to be proven, and go through years of testing. Any line of code that gets changed has to go through months, if not years of testing. So no, putting something faster in really isn't an option.
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post #86 of 183
I wonder what they're using to cool the chip?

Edit: Immediately after posting this, I realized how dumb I am. Surface temperature of Mars is colder than Alaska in the Winter. Even with a very thin atmosphere, a well-build aircooler should do the trick.
Edited by quentin - 8/9/12 at 2:38pm
post #87 of 183
post #88 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

Based on what?
Most scientific HPC uses *nix....

Particularly in Physics and Astronomy. I was referring to what personal devices they use, not what HPC machines they operate research on. It's because of the *nix nature of course. When Apple switched to a BSD based OS, it was a natural choice for many, allowing us to continue to run existing applications while at the same time being a day-to-day machine for personal uses.
Edited by Nope oO - 8/9/12 at 2:58pm
post #89 of 183
Any of you who are second guessing NASA's decision are seriously underestimating PowerPC architecture. RISC CPU's are perfect for this application.
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post #90 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wr3ckin_Cr3w View Post

I wish I could downvote posts on here. rolleyes.gif

that is bad imo. one turkish forum has it,the biggest turkish forum actually, and people just downvote anyone's post if its apple related, good or bad. eventually those get cleaned. it might save some work of the mods, but i still think it is just worthless. beside, would you be able to survive that down time to adapt the system?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

Space shuttle Columbia exploded during re-entry in 2003. This was one of the HDDs on it.... a 400MB Seagate. That means in 2003, they were still using a HDD from around 1991!
99% of the data was recovered from it.....
After surviving an explosion....
At Mach 19....
Falling from an altitude of 35mi....


holy crap thats bad! on terms of reliability, as it was you i think duckie, but he said "it needs to be reliable, sending a person to fix it isnt very handy" (paraphrased). so true. just imagine, some guys here are IT guys. im sure most of you dont find it sensible to drive to someone elses house to fix their electronic stuff. imagine going to mars to do that tongue.gif would be a hell of a experience, but you get the point.
 
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