Pentium's pent-up problems

Published: Tuesday 31 January 1995

-- The detection of computational errors in Intel's latest computer chip, the much-vaunted Pentium, has created a major furore among users worldwide.

Thomas Niceley, a mathematician of Lynchburg College, Virginia, first detected that Pentium made untenable mistakes in high-precision computing. Nicely bunged his finding into Internet, forcing Intel into a corner.

After telling worried customers to go to hell, Intel discovered that its public relations was wanting and modified the chip. Intel, claiming that the chip made mistakes only every 9 billion computations, first promised to replace the chip free of cost to anyone who could prove that their work was high precision. Agitated users, however, forced it Intel recall all the 5 million flawed chips and replace them.

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