F-ckin Leap Seconds, how do they work?

Vadim Antonov avg at kotovnik.com
Wed Jul 4 01:55:29 UTC 2012

On 7/3/2012 6:28 PM, Steve Allen wrote:
> On 2012 Jul 3, at 18:13, Vadim Antonov wrote:
>> PS. I would vote for using TAI instead of UTC as the
>> non-relativistic time base in computer systems.
> A problem with the use of TAI is that the BIPM and CCTF (who make
> TAI) expressed strongly that they do not want it used as a system
> time in document CCTF09-27
> http://www.bipm.org/cc/CCTF/Allowed/18/CCTF_09-27_note_on_UTC-ITU-R.pdf
> so strongly that they end by contemplating the discontinuation
> of TAI.

There's always a possibility of using pseudo-TAI internally by 
reconstructing it from UTC. This is not the best solution (because it 
requires systems to have long-term memory of past leap seconds, or
ability to access a reliable storage of such), but at least this removes 
the burden of doing complicated time handling from application software.

Actually, what they are saying is that they would discontinue TAI *if* 
definition of UTC is amended to remove future leap seconds.  The 
document makes it clear that they recognize the necessity of continuous 
coordinate time standard.


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