dcsimg
Main » TERM » S »

soft error

An error occurence in a computer's memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value. Soft errors typically can be remedied by cold booting the computer. A soft error will not damage a system's hardware; the only damage is to the data that is being processed.

There are two types of soft errors:

  • chip-level soft error: These errors occur when the radioactive atoms in the chip's material decay and release alpha particles into the chip. Because an alpha particle contains a positive charge and kinetic energy, the particle can hit a memory cell and cause the cell to change state to a different value. The atomic reaction is so tiny that it does not damage the actual structure of the chip. Chip-level errors are rare because modern memory is so stable that it would take a typical computer with a large memory capacity at least 10 years before the radioactive elements of the chip's materials begin to decay.
  • system-level soft error: These errors occur when the data being processed is hit with a noise phenomenon, typically when the data is on a data bus. The computer tries to interpret the noise as a data bit, which can cause errors in addressing or processing program code. The bad data bit can even be saved in memory and cause problems at a later time.

Contrast with hard error.










LATEST ARTICLES
Top Cloud Computing Facts

The following facts and statistics capture the changing landscape of cloud computing and how service providers and customers are keeping up with... Read More »

SEO Dictionary

From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »

Texting & Chat Abbreviations

From A3 to ZZZ this guide lists 1,500 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Read More »

STUDY GUIDES
Java Basics, Part 1

Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

Java Basics, Part 2

This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

Network Fundamentals Study Guide

Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »