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Name: Gushie
Status: Other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 2001


Question:
My 6 year old son told me that when computer chips burn out is it possible for a chip to rejuvenate itself, and if not can this be proven because he says it can and I need proof. Thank you, so much as I know you are all very busy. I have tried to answer this for myself but I did not know how or where.



Replies:
There are many scientists and engineers that wish a computer chip could repair itself, but unfortunately they cannot. Computer chips are electric circuits, miniaturized to fit on a small flake, often silicon. When we say a chip "burns out" we mean that the circuit for one reason or another no longer performs the electronic function for which it was designed. It may short circuit, it may encounter a high electrical resistance where one is not supposed to be, and a host of other possible malfunctions. Unless the circuit is redundant, that is, it has one or more parallel backups, it cannot analyze what its own problem is and fix itself. Sometimes a circuit becomes "confused" and stops doing what it is supposed to -- like computers frequently do. In these cases, "rebooting" the system sometimes corrects the problem. But this is a case of electronic "confusion" and not a physical breakdown in the elements of the circuit, where one or more elements are physically damaged.

Vince Calder


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