Configit co-founder and CEO Henrik Reif Andersen on the event that launched Configit.
In 1996, I was a computer science professor at ITU in Denmark, working on configuration logic solutions.
In June of that year, an unmanned rocket launched by the European Space Agency exploded just forty seconds after lift-off. This rocket, named Ariane 5, was on its first voyage after a decade of development costing $7 billion. An investigation into the cause of the explosion found it was caused by a software error in the inertial reference systems.
Specifically, a 64-bit floating point number relating to the horizontal velocity of the rocket was converted to a 16-bit signed integer. The resulting number was larger than the largest store-able number, and thus the conversion failed.
As I watched this unfold, I knew the research we were doing could hold the key to preventing such disasters in the future.”