The Large Hadron Collider and Single Points of Failure

February 22nd, 2009

ColliderWhen I was in the military working with critical systems, we put a lot of emphasis on single points of failure. We dealt with satellites, and it wasn’t unusual for a new spacecraft to have multiple failures caused by the stresses of being launched. Nearly every piece of hardware was redundant, however, so we would just route processing around the failed components.

Apparently the folks at CERN have not learned this lesson. The Large Hadron Collider, a $5.4 billion atom-smasher is expected to be out of commission for a year due to a single, badly soldered electrical connection along its 17-mile length. Repairs will cost about $20 million. Now that is an example of error-intolerant design.


One Response to “The Large Hadron Collider and Single Points of Failure”

  1. [link]Tony Edgin Says:

    This sounds like where I work now.

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