Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Inside Google Spanner - A GPS Clock

Last month Wired published an intriguing article about the world's largest single database - Google Spanner.  Made possible by multiple computers around the world talking to each other in near real time, critical to the effort is the Global Positioning System (GPS).  More exactly, the time feature of GPS enables data synchronization and system redundancy so that disparate hosting sites can act as one. More below:

(Wired, November 26, 2012)

Comment: When thinking about the value of GPS to society, the timing feature of GPS is often overlooked.  However, from a modern society standpoint, the precise timing feature of GPS (accurate to within about 40 nanoseconds) is probably more valuable than its location determination capability.  That's because the timing function is now used in a whole host of infrastructure and financial related applications. Consequently, a complete loss of the timing feature of GPS would mean we would probably have a substantial disaster on our hands.

Lead graphic:

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