Discovery of a 'holy grail' with the invention of universal computer memory

Discovery of a 'holy grail' with the invention of universal computer memory
This new electronic memory device would allow computers which do not need to boot up and which could go into an energy-saving sleep mode - even between key stokes. Credit: Lancaster University

A new type of computer memory which could solve the digital technology energy crisis has been invented and patented by scientists from Lancaster University in the UK.

The electronic —described in research published in Scientific Reports—promises to transform with its ultra-low energy consumption.

In the home, from efficient lighting and appliances have been completely wiped out by increased use of computers and gadgets, and by 2025 a 'tsunami of data' is expected to consume a fifth of global electricity.

But this new device would immediately reduce peak power consumption in by a fifth.

It would also allow, for example, computers which do not need to boot up and could instantaneously and imperceptibly go into an energy-saving —even between key stokes.

The device is the realisation of the search for a "Universal Memory" which has preoccupied scientists and engineers for decades.

Physics Professor Manus Hayne of Lancaster University said: "Universal Memory, which has robustly stored data that is easily changed, is widely considered to be unfeasible, or even impossible, but this device demonstrates its contradictory properties."

A US patent has been awarded for the electronic memory device with another patent pending, while several companies have expressed an interest or are actively involved in the research.

The inventors of the device used quantum mechanics to solve the dilemma of choosing between stable, long-term data storage and low-energy writing and erasing.

The device could replace the $100bn market for Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), which is the 'working memory' of computers, as well as the long-term memory in flash drives.

While writing data to DRAM is fast and low-energy, the data is volatile and must be continuously 'refreshed' to avoid it being lost: this is clearly inconvenient and inefficient. Flash stores data robustly, but writing and erasing is slow, energy intensive and deteriorates it, making it unsuitable for working memory.

Professor Hayne said: "The ideal is to combine the advantages of both without their drawbacks, and this is what we have demonstrated. Our device has an intrinsic data storage time that is predicted to exceed the age of the Universe, yet it can record or delete data using 100 times less than DRAM."

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More information: Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45370-1
Journal information: Scientific Reports

Citation: Discovery of a 'holy grail' with the invention of universal computer memory (2019, June 20) retrieved 18 September 2019 from
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Jun 20, 2019
Link broken:
"DOI Not Found 10.1038/s41598-019-45370-1"

And the rest sounds like a sales pitch with zero explanation of how this would work.
I will assume this is a scam.

Jun 20, 2019
Very interesting work, seems pretty close to practical as well.
Details here: https://www.natur...-45370-1

Jun 20, 2019
Another potentially interesting non-volatile memory. but we've been here so many times.


Don't let the maths put you off.

Jun 23, 2019
I only wish that the base element of the memory wasn't Indium. That element is quite rare and expensive.

That doesn't mean the technology won't be useful. After all, there are a number of other technologies that depend on Indium and Iridium.

Jun 24, 2019
In a few years this claim, too, will likely be in the dust bins.
Even in the highly unlikely scenario that it is not, it will take years and years before this ever hits mass market.

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