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Thread: Random circuits

  1. #1 Random circuits 
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Please be aware, I don't really know what I am talking about. But here's a question:

    A few weeks back I was listening to a BBC radio broadcast about randomness and pseudo-randomness, which was, in the main, entirely mathematical. I was familiar with all that was said in that sphere.

    Then, toward the end, the presenter asked his guests (they included Marcus du Sautoy) what practical applications there might be, and I heard the following.

    Suppose a complex circuit, I assume with bits and pieces of electronic magic all connected. Assume further that one wants to design this circuit in such a way that if one component fails, the circuit will remain open.

    The claim was that, in practice, this is almost impossible to do by design, but if the circuit connections (is this the right phrase?) are random (or do I mean pseudo-random?), then almost always one will get a fail-safe circuit.

    I found that astonishing. Is it true?

    PS I would link, but as far as I know, non-UKers cannot read the BBC site

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  3. #2  
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    I'm not sure what to make of this. Perhaps the terminology is wrong. An open circuit is one that is not conducting. in other words, it wouldn't work. A component can fail in a number of ways; as an open circuit, a short circuit, or some other mode of failure. I think we need more explanation.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Junior Steiner101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I am guessing he may mean more generally. Take the internet for example, that is a sprawling random system structurally, and if you send out a TCP/IP packet, it is likely to reach its destination even if massive sections of it were decimated in a nuclear attack.

    Systems as complex as that though generally don't either "just work or fail", they have a vast degree of functionality, parts of it may fail, but the system as a whole does not suffer greatly, due to resources being able to be rerouted.

    The power networks in UK and US are similar, with sprawling almost random structure due to the nature of its development. most of the time it is fault tolerant, but occasionally a fault happens in such a way it has a cascading effect through the whole system, but generally it is pretty reliable.

    I am guessing it is in this context he is referring to, but trying to apply it to complex local systems, like a CPU die or graphics chip.
    'Aint no thing like a chicken wing'
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