Not Only Bioinformatics Programs Crash Due to Insufficient RAM

Not Only Bioinformatics Programs Crash Due to Insufficient RAM

Two weeks back, we heard a bizarre news story, where all west coast planes were grounded for three hours due to ‘computer glitch’.

FAA Grounds All Flights From West Coast Due To Computer “Glitch”

According to the FAA site, the following airports are also on ground halt…

BOS - General Edward Lawrence Logan International

BWI - Baltimore-Washington International

DCA - Ronald Reagan Washington National

EWR - Newark International

FLL - Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International

JFK - John F Kennedy International

LAS - Las Vegas McCarran International

LAX - Los Angeles International

LGA - La Guardia

MCO - Orlando International

MIA - Miami International

PHL - Philadelphia International

TEB - Teterboro

Then the story got weirder in this Reuters report released last week -

U-2 spy plane caused widespread shutdown of U.S. flights: report

A U-2 spy plane caused a computer glitch at a California air traffic control center that led officials to halt takeoffs on Wednesday at several airports in the Southwestern United States and ground planes bound for the region from other parts of the country, NBC reported on Saturday.

The computer problem at a Federal Aviation Administration center slowed the journeys of tens of thousands of arriving and departing passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the busiest in the country.

And finally in the weirdest touch to the story released today -

U-2 Spy-Plane-Inspired Radar Crash Was Sparked By Insufficient RAM

The FAA later set the system to require altitudes for every flight plan and added memory to the system, which should prevent such problems in the future, Brown said.


The ERAM system failed because it limits how much data each plane can send it, according to the sources. Most planes have simple flight plans, so they do not exceed that limit.

But a U-2 operating at high altitude that day had a complex flight plan that put it close to the system’s limit, the sources said.

The plan showed the plane going in and out of the Los Angeles control area multiple times, not a simple point-to-point route like most flights, they said.

The flight plan did not contain an altitude for the flight, one of the sources said. While a controller entered the usual altitude for a U-2 plane - about 60,000 feet - the system began to consider all altitudes between ground level and infinity.

Clearly WWIII will be won by the country that can write the most RAM-efficient programs (or diligently reads blog :)) !! Also note that plane crash is a bit more severe than typical computer crash experienced by the genome assemblers.

Written by M. //