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MIT researchers may have put an end to file loss from system crashes

Most computer users will experience losing their work at some time or another. Whether it’s thanks to a battery running out or a crack of lightning, it’s never a pleasant feeling to have your labour disappear thanks to events that are firmly out of your control.

However, it seems that a group of researchers at MIT might have made a significant step towards solving the problem for good. The team, led by Nickolai Zeldovich, has apparently constructed a file system that’s invulnerable to data loss in the result of an unexpected crash, according to findings from Tech Report.

The project is built on the foundation of formal verification, bringing together high-level mathematics and theoretical computer science. However, the work of Zeldovich and his team is thought to be far less specific to a particular file system than prior research, which could make it easer to re-purpose it for different applications.

In it’s current state, the file system is likely far too slow to be of any real application — however, it’s important to remember that this is a very early stage in the project. Now that the groundwork has been laid, time is likely to be spent on optimization before it’s ready to be implemented elsewhere.

It’s easy to see why this sort of research is being undertaken. While the concepts are not the sort of thing that will mean much to most users, the benefit of a system that can preserve your work in the event of a crash is immediately obvious to just about anyone who’s ever sat down at a PC.

Zeldovich and his team of researchers are scheduled to present their work fully at the ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles in October.