Monday, August 15

Meta wants to end leap seconds | Digital Trends Spanish

The Facebook Matrix, Goalhas wanted to contribute with a group of engineers, to put an end to a nightmare for physics and computers: leap seconds.

What is this concept about?: The second leap second concept was first introduced in 1972 by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) in an attempt to periodically update the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) due to observed solar time imprecise (UT1) and long-term deceleration in rotation from the earth.

This periodic adjustment primarily benefits scientists and astronomers by allowing them to observe celestial bodies using UTC for most purposes. If there was no UTC correction, then adjustments would have to be made to legacy equipment and software that sync with UTC for astronomical observations.

Since the introduction of the leap second, UTC has been updated 27 times.

What does Meta propose?

“These days UTC is equally bad for both digital applications and scientists, who often choose TAI or UT1 instead. At Meta, we are supporting an industry effort to stop further introductions of leap seconds and stay at a current level of 27. Introducing new leap seconds is a risky practice that does more harm than good, and we believe it is time to introduce new technology. to replace her” holds the company.

So far, only positive leap seconds have been added. In the early days, this was done by simply adding an extra second, resulting in an unusual timestamp:

23:59:59 -> 23:59:60 -> 00:00:00

At best, such a time jump crashed programs or even corrupted data, due to weird timestamps on data storage.

With the change in the Earth’s rotation pattern, it is very likely that we will get a second negative jump at some point in the future. The timestamp will look like this:

23:59:58 -> 00:00:00

The impact of a negative leap second has never been tested on a large scale; it could have a devastating effect on software that relies on timers or schedulers.

In any case, every leap second is a major source of pain for people managing hardware infrastructures.

An alternative to the leap second is the second smearwhich means slowing down digital clocks for a longer period to account for the extra time that will be added, effectively smearing the necessary leap second over a period of hours in a single day.

Meta, more than proposing a specific solution, just wants to make a crusade to achieve a solution.

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