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Pentium Flaw

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Submitted By carlosayala1988
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Unit 5 Analysis 1: Pentium Flaw

Intel Corporation discovered a design flaw in June of 1994 in its flagship Pentium Processor. For divisions involving a few specific numbers, the chip's floating point unit gave the wrong answer. Intel's tests showed that the error only appeared in the ninth significant digit of the answer and affected only a minuscule percentage of the possible division combinations.
Intel did not handle the problem correctly, they consider the flaw to be “minor” .They said that it wasn’t the first time a flaw of this nature happened so Intel continued to sell hundreds of thousands of chips that were already made. Intel pretty much ignored the flaw and did nothing to satisfy its consumer. Dr. Thomas contacted Intel’s technical support in October of the same year and had no luck, so he decided to post the problem in a blog, which brought immediate attention to Intel.
At the beginning Intel said that that they will only replace the flawed chip only for those users that work with heavy duty scientific/floating point calculations since the problem did not affected everyone else using simple mathematics. Later that year after the increased coverage by worldwide print and electronic media, Intel fear and decided to recall the chip on December 20, 1994. Intel decided to offer a replacement chip to all of its end-users—"no questions asked." Intel took a $475 million loss for the replacement program.
In today’s society I think it would be mostly impossible for a flaw to happen because of the amount of test done to a product comes in to the market. But if it were to happen, I believe Intel or other major companies would lose a lot of creditability in its product because today’s consumers are harder to satisfy. A simple recall and a replacement program will not be enough to satisfy everyone as they expect everything to be perfect before it hits the market.

Works Cited

Uzumeri, M. V., & Snyder, C. A. (1996). Information Technology and Accelerated Science: THE CASE OF THE PENTIUM™ FLAW. California Management Review, 38(2), 44-63.

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