Snap Talk by John Bravman
Professor of Electrical Engineering
"Why Did My Computer Die?"
Abstract: Although most computer "crashes" stem from software issues, the death of computers and other information appliances can result from hardware failures of various types. Surprisingly, some failure modes have much in common with those found in large scale structures, such as bridges and jet engines, even though microprocessors and memory chips have no moving parts. In this talk we will review some common engineering concepts and see how they apply to structures across vastly different length scales, and discuss how integrated circuits are designed with sets of compromises to maximize their longevity.