IBM Cooks Up Replacement For NAND, Hard Drives
April 11, 2008 11:26 AM
IBM's new racetrack storage takes advantage of advanced quantum mechanics to move tiny magnetic domain walls on which information is stored.
IBM bets big on spintronics, new type of memory which it says will deliver terabyte MP3 players
With computer hardware ever advancing and improving steadily, the question in the hardware development world is not so much "if" but "how?" IBM believes that it has developed the storage solution for next generation of consumer electronics and computers. IBM's new storage technology is known as spintronics, and it is betting that it will replace both the solid state drives (flash) and traditional magnetic drives, by offering higher densities at a lower price.
The basic premise of IBM's technology is storing the data on a wire track. IBM calls the memory "Race Track" memory due to the fact that the data "races" around the memory's track design. It was developed by IBM Fellow Stuart Parkin and his colleagues, whom are firm believers that the new technology will make older storage methods obsolete. According to Parkin the benefits are across the board-- much improved read/write times, higher capacities, improved stability, improved durability all at a lower cost than today's memory.
Solid state electronic devices based on the new memory could theoretically store 500,000 songs or around 3500 movies on a
standard MP3 hard drive
, and be accessed at lower power consumption. The data would be safe, according to IBM from degradation for decades. Further the power consumption would be so low the battery could run for weeks on a single charge.
While Parkin's enthusiasm is certainly infectious and the idea remains intriguing, it turns out the technology relies on some exotic science that prevents it from being commercially realized today. The new memory
utilizes a field of quantum computing known as spintronics
, which involves reading and writing data by altering an electron's spin. Currently no known commercial ventures using such technology exist, so its commercial implementation remains far off.
Undeterred, Parkin states, "It has been an exciting adventure to have been involved with research into metal spintronics since its inception almost 20 years ago with our work on spin-valve structures. The combination of extraordinarily interesting physics and spintronic materials engineering, one atomic layer at a time, continues to be highly challenging and very rewarding. The promise of racetrack memory - for example, the ability to carry massive amounts of information in your pocket - could unleash creativity leading to devices and applications that nobody has imagined yet."
The research of Parkins and his colleagues is outlined in their paper "Current Controlled Magnetic Domain-Wall Nanowire Shift Register”. As is evident by the title, the current working concept of the memory utilizes the exotic carbon compound nanowires. Fortunately, nanowires are a
bit better researched
and understood than quantum computing, and have seen
limited commercial development
On a technical standpoint the memory's operation is reliant on a phenomena in spintronics known as spin momentum transfer. This allows for a magnetic shift register, which shifts a series of closely space domain walls. Basically data is continuously pushed along through a nanowire. The rotation of data through the looped circuit is analogous to the spin of the drive platter on traditional magnetic hard drives, albeit much faster, in that it brings the information to the read/write head.
Parkins states that magnetic domain wall data storage obstacles can be overcome by using spin polarized current along with the magnetized walls. The resulting spin transfer torque will cause the domain wall to move. He claims that the memory type is entirely new and never before considered.
The new memory type, like current flash drives would use no moving parts, limiting failure. Further, as it stores information in electrons, IBM claims that the data would experience no degradation over time. IBM brags that the drive could be rewritten “endlessly without any wear and tear.”
IBM believes it has the solution for the "How?" of improving memory densities and performance on hand. Now the question they admit remains uncertain is "When?" The researchers predict that in a decade the technology might see commercialization. This seems overly optimistic over
despite modest gains in quantum computing
Still, one can only hope that IBM's new technology lives up to its bold statements and can be commercialized. After all, it's good to look at things from a fresh perspective, and it would be even better to have one of those terabyte sized MP3 players, which the researchers are talking about, in your pocket.
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
Engineers Develop Transparent Active Matrix Displays
April 1, 2008, 3:50 PM
Researchers Hope To Create Nanowire Cancer Detectors
March 8, 2008, 7:57 PM
Quantum Computer Researchers Store "Sub Zero" Light Vacuum
March 7, 2008, 9:31 PM
DailyTech Audio Lover's Holiday Guide: Players and Phones
December 2, 2007, 5:16 AM
Spintronics Breaks the Silicon Barrier
May 18, 2007, 12:48 AM
ASUS RT-AC5300 – Ultimate Game & 4K Streaming
April 18, 2017, 7:45 AM
HP Envy 17t Touch – All-Day Battery for All-Day Portability
April 13, 2017, 6:29 AM
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA – Your Versatile Flexible Companion
April 11, 2017, 6:14 AM
What is the best Processor for gaming? AMD or Intel
April 2, 2017, 6:30 AM
Arris Motorola SB 6141 – High Range of Compatibility and Internet Speeds
March 28, 2017, 7:55 AM
Comparison – Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 4
March 21, 2017, 7:40 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
Vivo V5 Plus – the Selfie Softlight is on You.
April 17, 2017, 7:05 AM
What is the Apple’s iPhone 8 specifications and release date?
April 14, 2017, 5:43 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
ASUS RT-AC5300 – Ultimate Game & 4K Streaming
April 18, 2017, 7:45 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
Apple iPhones Will Soon Feature Graphics Chips Designed BY Apple
Apr 3, 2017, 6:23 AM
AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors Performance
Apr 2, 2017, 6:30 AM
What makes a camera Lensless?
Apr 1, 2017, 7:45 AM
Google halts Android Wear 2.0 Update Due to Bug
Mar 31, 2017, 7:27 AM
Uber Technologies Inc Driverless Car hit by Human-driver
Mar 30, 2017, 8:00 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information