A new form of computing memory which could result in faster starting, user-friendly computers continues to be developed by US researchers. These devices, produced by a team at North Carolina State University, claims to combine the advantages of two commons types of memory employed nowadays. The "unified" memory device, outlined in the journal IEEE Laptop or computer, continues to be undergoing testing. But the team believe it could form the foundation of PCs that commence right away.
Presently, computers rely on two distinct types of memory: volatile and non-volatile. The kind of memory employed depends on regardless of whether data needs to become accessed swiftly or stored permanently. Volatile technologies including random access memory (RAM) or it’s newer variation DRAM, store data so it can be read and written rapidly, making it ideal for rapid computations. However the data is lost once the power is turned off.
By comparison, non-volatile memory devices, such as the flash drives found in memory cards, USB dongles and MP3 players, can retain information for long periods with out power. But the device produced by Dr Paul Franzon and the team combines the speed of DRAM although being able to change to more persistent mode of storage.
That would potentially allow pc makers to construct machines that boot up practically immediately, as the data required to start up the machine could possibly be stored in quick memory, said Dr Franzon. It could also result in servers which will be powered down, when not in use. Currently, the servers discovered in most data centres continue to slurp energy even when their processors are idle since the server memory can't be turned off with out affecting performance.
Today's flash memory devices make use of a single floating gate to store an electric charge, which represents data. "We realised that a second gate would allow us to transfer charges truly swiftly," said Dr Frazon. His team have shown they can transfer charges - in effect change the data - in around 15 nanoseconds. "That's comparable with DRAM speeds," he added. When in non-volatile mode, the data will probably be stored safely for a couple of years.