Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Mar 2015 23:19 UTC
Internet & Networking

In April, one of the open source code movement's first and biggest success stories, the Network Time Protocol, will reach a decision point. At 30 years old, will NTP continue as the pre-eminent time synchronization system for Macs, Windows, and Linux computers and most servers on networks?

Or will this protocol go into a decline marked by drastically slowed development, fewer bug fixes, and greater security risks for the computers that use it? The question hinges to a surprising degree on the personal finances of a 59-year-old technologist in Talent, Ore., named Harlan Stenn.

Amazing how such an important protocol hinges on just one man.

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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by piotr.dobrogost on Sun 15th Mar 2015 13:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
piotr.dobrogost
Member since:
2011-10-04

Rather, atomic clocks work by funneling super-cooled cesium atoms down a tube and exposing them to precisely-tuned radio waves. If the frequency is just right, the atoms resonate and change their energy state.


To get precise frequency on output we need... precise frequency on input. This looks like paradox. How can this be explained? Generally how can more precision be obtained starting with less precision?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Sun 15th Mar 2015 21:12 in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Rather than trying to count how many of these oscillations happen in a second, the second is instead defined by the amount of time it takes for 9,192,631,770 oscillations to occur.

At least, for most uses of the second. There area couple of other ways to define the second, depending what you're using it for. The Wikipedia entry is actually fairly interesting.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
by owczi on Mon 16th Mar 2015 11:29 in reply to "RE: Comment by Drumhellar"
owczi Member since:
2009-11-04

Not really a paradox. This frequency can be generated, and it is. It is still delivered by a classic crystal oscillator. The whole trick is that the mechanism behind detecting the right frequency relies on Cs133's properties which never, ever, change. The Caesium part is the ultimate verification of how good the frequency output is and is it's control input. That's all.

Reply Parent Score: 1