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Communications of the ACM

Kode vicious

Kode Vicious Plays in Traffic

stopped vehicle and students in crosswalk


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Dear KV,

I hear many cars today are built as distributed systems containing hundreds of CPUs that control the smallest bits of the car. These components, with millions of lines of code in them, seem to be very complicated—more so than a typical operating system. This does not sound like a terribly great idea, given that today we struggle to understand multicore behavior of systems in the presence of optimizing compilers, let alone the challenges posed by distributed systems that have no access to atomic operations. I hear they are even planning to use Ethernet moving forward. I am scared a car might malfunction or get exploited and run me over. What can we do to remedy this situation?


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