Computer memory goes 3D

Finally, they’ve figured out something that neural systems have capitalized on for a while: Using all 3 dimensions. Check it out:

NYT article on Stuart Parkin and racetrack memory
IBM Almaden page on racetrack memory

And a nice semi-technical discussion from EE Times on current 2D RAM and how racetrack memory takes advantage of 3 dimensions. A key concept here (and an old one, see bubble memory below) is “massless motion”: Applying a current to a tape moves the magnetic domains along in a similar manner to mechanically moving the tape.

On the macro scale, a similar type of memory called bubble memory was available up to the early 1980s when it was replaced with hard disks. Seems like high speed (pushing the correct magnetic portion of the nanowire to the read head) and doing so without excessive current are what really make this a viable technology now.

One thought on “Computer memory goes 3D

  1. IBM of late has made a move into spintronic atomic storage with IBM’s Parkins new approach, referred to as “racetrack memory”. Its interesting to note that pancake motors, electric field generators, etc. all use the concept of creating strong EMF fields by subatomic particles moving through serial wires. Not only will there be increased EMF, heat and energy needs of the device but when the wire develops an open in any wire there goes the memorey device. High stray EMF magnetic fields could also pose a health problem to users as well as other electronics in the circuit. How does IBM propose handling the EMF crosstalk between wires possibly effecting neighboring wires data ? These and many other question need to be answered before this technology can be said to be reliable holding a customers data.


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