For some reason, there are some serious discrepancies and omissions from Wikipedia (Go Figure) that are more than disturbing. We all take for granted there some guy or people in a room or building somewhere making sure the Internet time clock is absolutely precise. Many people do not realize how important and ultimately catastrophic a minor glitch in this "virtual clock" would cause on a global scale literally in a millisecond. You would think various news organizations would be all over this information, not to mention governments taking extreme measures to make sure the following does not happen.
Take this snippet from the Harvard Business Review article, for example:
Open-source code resides everywhere. If you’ve hired a software developer, their work most likely contained code from the open-source community. The same goes for software programs. Let me take my favorite example, the Network Time Protocol, or NTP. Invented by David Mills of the University of Delaware, it is the protocol that has been keeping time on the internet for over 30 years. This is important because all computer systems require reliable time — even more so if they communicate with one another. This is how stock exchanges timestamp trade. In a world of high-frequency trading, imagine if there was no agreement as to what that time was. Chaos would reign.
You might think that time is a pretty stable thing. But it’s not. What we call “time” changes over time. Different countries set their clocks back or move them ahead, and every so often we have a leap second event that requires everyone to recognize an extra second at the same time. To add to that, time must be kept down to the millisecond, which means the server that houses time has to operate very precisely.
Though it doesn’t mention Network Time Foundation by name, this perfectly describes the need for the foundation and what it does. Although the Average Joe and Jane rely on accurate time, they are not the people ensuring it is so. Someone has to keep the time. It’s a lot of work. Far too much work for one man, yes? But…
Now for the scary part. What if I told you that the entire NTP relies on the sole effort of a 61-year-old who has pretty much volunteered his own time for the last 30 years? His name is Harlan Stenn, he lives in Oregon, in the United States, and he is so unknown that he does not even appear on the NTP Wikipedia page.
While this isn’t completely accurate (other volunteers also contribute to the code and the project’s online infrastructure), it drives home the point. Network Time Foundation is funding NTP, but the President of the foundation – the main programmer of NTP – doesn’t even appear on the Wikipedia page! How are we supposed to bring in the level of funding necessary to support these vital projects if no one knows we exist?
Once upon a time, Network Time Foundation had a Wikipedia entry (It is no longer spoken or found on Wikipedia), but it was removed by Wikipedia moderators. We knew the importance of a Wikipedia entry, but we didn’t know it is a no-no to write the entry ourselves. Someone not affiliated with Network Time Foundation would need to write the Wikipedia entry on our behalf. Maybe that person is you?
Now imagine this monumental project receiving no funding or attention whatsoever. Either somebody has gone insane or there is a particular reason for this. You be the judge and do some research as every second counts, literally!