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Spectre, explained as if computer were banks

Spectre, explained as if computer were banks /img/spectre-and-meltdown.jpg

I just saw on Twitter a thread by Professor Clay Shirky that gives a good, simple explanation of what Spectre is and why it is dangerous (which I believe to be valid, in a broad sense, also for the other big computer threat of the moment, Meltdown (1)). With Prof. Shirky’s permission, I reformatted the whole thread and now publish it here, so that it is fully readable, and useful, even outside Twitter (emphasis in the text below is mine)

It is time for European microprocessors and FPGAs

CPUs, that is Central Processing Units, are the central microprocessors that make all the real computing work inside modern computers, from desktop ones to smartphones and servers.