Leap second confuses computers, tech giants want to get rid of them

Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, has been in use since 1972, and is a time indicator based on the atomic clock and the Earth’s rotation. Since then, there have been 27 leap seconds, correcting the clock for subtle changes in the Earth’s rotation. This leap second is added at midnight, and the clock does not move from 23:59:59 to 00:00:00, but once to 23:59:60.

Computers are confused by this exception because it goes against the internal logic of 60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes per hour, and 24 hours per day. And so something usually goes wrong, because it is very difficult to test for this exceptional circumstance. When a leap second was added in 2012, major websites like Reddit, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Yelp went offline. In 2015, there was a new leap per second and great fearbut the problems turned out to be smaller, but still existjust as in 2016. The next leap second could be on December 31.

Meta: “Just stop”

Facebook’s parent company Meta Calling To drop the leap second. Adding leap seconds is a risky practice that does more harm than good, and we think it’s time to replace it with new technologies.

The company isn’t alone: ​​Tech giants Google, Microsoft and Amazon are also behind the call, according to reports cnet. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the French International Bureau of Poids et Mesures (BIPM) are also behind this call – these institutions are responsible for defining the modules.

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“Second lubrication” as an alternative

The leap second is of value to astronomers, for example, who view celestial bodies based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). However, according to Meta, this is less important than the potential damage a leap second could do in the event of a systems failure.

As an alternative, he proposes a “second lube” meta, an idea where Google Came in 2011. Then the leap second is not added all at once, but is distributed over the course of a whole day in smaller pieces. However, this option is also not without its drawbacks, as there are several ways to distort the leap second, and there is no centralized standard way to do this yet.

The solution is not in sight yet

Thus, a lubrication second is not the answer to a leap second, according to Meta. The company basically states that the current situation is outdated. The participation of the two leading identification agencies is encouraging for the tech giants.

The next step will take some time. Al Kubaisi’s second report, commissioned in 2015 by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union, a body dedicated to standardizing telecommunications matters, will be released next year.

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