24 April, 2012

fire upon the deep unix timestamps are NNNNN bits

Vernor Vinge talks about people still using unix timestamps in his future universe.

Unix timestamps, when stored in fixed width fields, run out of bits. 32 bits runs out in 2038: the year 2038 problem.

I wondered how many bits would be needed to be to represent timestamps in his future.

Vinge is not very clear when his novels are set. Someone on slashdot thinks 38000 years from now.

Well, the next obvious size up from 32 bits is 64 bits. And wikipedia says that will run out in the year 292,277,026,596. Which seems far in advance of Vinge's future.

I was hoping the answer would be cooler than that. But 64 bits seems to be enough.

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