Unit 5 Analysis 1 Pentium Flaw Essay

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Unit 5 Analysis 1: Pentium Flaw
Larry Pfaff
ITT Technical Institute
Ms. Pritchard

In June, 1994 the media came out with a story that the Intel P5 Pentium microprocessors had a floating point unit flaw (FPU). This flaw had to do with a math calculation that gave out wrong number after you put in an equation. Intel claims that it was a problem on a few missing entries in the lookup table used by the company. The flaw was rarely encountered by users. The story about this flaw came to light after Professor Thomas Nicely a mathematics professor at Lynchburg College. Nicely noticed the bug after writing code, He noticed these inconsistencies in calculations once he added the Pentium system to his computers. He discovered this issue in June of 1994 but was unable to eliminate other factors until October of 1994.
Nicely reported the problem to Intel and they admitted that they were aware of the bug since May of 1994. After finding the problem Nicely sent out an email to Intel describing the problem he had come across in his testing. The email stated that there was a flaw in the Pentium floating point unit (FPU). With no response back from Intel Nicely posted a general notice on the internet asking people to confirm his findings. The media got wind of this and Nicely did some magazine and T.V interviews about what his test resolute showed him.
When the story first broke Intel’s initial response was to deny that there was any kind of a problem with their chips, but eventually Intel acknowledged the flaw, but claimed that it was not serious and would not affect most users. They offered to replace the processors to customers who could prove