Facebook and Google worry about leap seconds that can wreak havoc on the internet

KOMPAS.com This week, four major companies in the technology industry, Google, Microsoft, Meta and Amazon, have officially launched a public initiative to eliminate the world time policy called leap seconds. (leap second).

Simply put, a leap second is one second that the world time regulator adds to the calculation of world standard time (Temps Atomique International (TAI)).

With one second added, the regulator will state that the 24-hour day will end at 23:59:60 instead of 23:59:59. After adding that time, the hour or world day will change at 00:00:00.

Also Read: Leap Seconds, Is It As Dangerous As “Y2K?

However, leap seconds are added to adjust the universal time of Earth’s motion or rotation from time to time. Throughout history, leap seconds are said to have been added 27 times in TAI.

Now, as the time increases by one second, computer systems and the Internet, which usually refer to specific time information for data processing, etc., can suffer from confusion due to time errors.

In addition, the Internet, which also relies on time information to determine the process of transferring data between computers and so on, can also collapse if its digital platform does not set its system to the “latest time”.

Also read: Here’s how Google counteracts leap seconds

This potential chaos is the main reason why Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon have launched initiatives to get rid of the leap seconds addition.

Moreover, the Big Four technology companies said, the problems caused by adding leap seconds will outweigh the benefits offered, the time corresponding to the Earth’s earlier rotation.

no need leap second In the next thousand years

illustration timeiStockphoto.com/kvkirillov illustration time

In addition to the chaos it can cause, add leap second TAI is also considered unimportant, because the Earth’s rotation has not undergone significant changes throughout the history of the Earth itself.

In fact, researcher from Meta, Ahmed Biakwi, said that without the addition of leap seconds, the Internet would likely be safe for the next thousand years.

Also read: How the largest shopping site can take leap seconds

“We expect that if we continue to use the TAI time system without adding leap seconds, then it is likely that our Internet will remain fine for the next 2,000 years,” Antara quoted Biagoy as saying. Compass Techno From cnetWednesday (7/7/2022).

“After thousands of years, it may be necessary to add leap seconds,” Biagui added.

Biagoy added that adding leap seconds would actually have a significant negative impact on different programmes (software) in this world.

“Especially for software who depend on time or scheduling it software Biagoy said.

Read also: 400 flights delayed due to leap seconds in 2012

It has not been determined whether or not this leap second will actually be eliminated in the future.

Meanwhile, to realize the initiative to eliminate leap seconds, Google, Microsoft, Meta and Amazon have teamed up with two global organizations related to global information standards.

They are the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) located in the United States, and the International Bureau de Poids et Mesures (BIPM) located in France.

The existence of these two institutions is necessary because the true standard of world time is not set by technology companies, but by the regulators who oversee world clocks.

Read also: IT services that became a victim of leap seconds 2012

The chaos caused by leap second

internet illustrationfreepik.com/rawpixel.com internet illustration

As mentioned above, leap second It has been added 27 times to TAI throughout history. In other words, many accidents or chaos on the Internet occurred as a result of this policy.

One is the collapse of Reddit, Mozilla, LinkedIn, Yelp and flight booking service Amadeus when leap seconds were added in 2012.

There’s also Cloudflare, a global internet service to speed up and secure data transmission on the internet, which got into a massive mess in 2017.

Read also: June 30, time is slowing down, will the world’s internet become chaotic?

Due to the addition of leap seconds, the Cloudflare system encountered a timing error and dropped a number of sites the web And many digital platforms that were dependent on Cloudflare at the time.

As is well known, computer systems are usually designed to be as sophisticated as possible for calculating and manipulating numbers. However, the man-made policies, such as leap second Previously, it could actually make computers and the Internet wrong and lead to chaos.

Next to leap second Similar man-made timing policies have also corrupted computer systems. One of the most common problems (bugs) Known as “Y2K” or “Year 2000” in 1999-2000.

Read also: Because of a typo, part of the Internet falls in the world

bugs Y2K

At the end of 1999, bugs The year 2000 caused chaos for many people Database Computer when the year changed from 1999 to 2000.

The reason is that many parties make Database It only includes the two-digit number ending in each year, eg ’80’ for 1980, ’99’ for 1999 and so on.

Then, after changing the year to 2000, the system Database It will automatically tamper and the calculations will work Database It would also be wrong. Because the system will read the year ’00’ instead of ‘100’, so it looks like it’s reading the other way around.

Next to bugs 2000, there too bugs Which will appear in the year 2038, when the calendar and time system of the computer will “turn back in time” after January 19, 2038 at 03:14:07 UTC.

Read also: Learn about the underwater cable network, the way of global Internet fees

The anomaly is caused by a 32-bit computer system that cannot process more binary or numeric information than specified.

It is said that a solution to the 2038 problem on 32-bit systems does not exist, but it is now said that modern 64-bit systems have been updated to allow computers to record time information billions of years into the future.

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