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The Arrival of Very Small Memory

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the mixing-our-terms dept.

Technology 175

Roland Piquepaille writes "After the ages of DRAM and SRAM memories, is this time for nanotech memories? ExtremeTech says that "molecular memories" as well as memories based on carbon nanotubes are emerging. With these nanotech memories, several startup companies are envisioning future chips mixing logic, memory and reconfigurable computing elements. One of these promising startups is ZettaCore, which has built a prototype of a molecular memory designed to replace both SRAM and DRAM kinds of memories. These molecules, which are about 1 nanometer in size, are also self-assembling, meaning that they can be manufactured with existing equipment used in the semiconductor industry. This overview contains more details about the technology and includes a diagram of these molecules in a memory array."

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175 comments

Help Me!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643753)

I sent this to their webmaster:

I find it somewhat humorous that on this page:
http://www.microsoft.com/seminar/events/security.m spx [microsoft.com]

the photo you use is that of a Macintosh PowerBook G4 15" (with the Apple logo on the back of the screen Photoshop-ed out), on a page about security summits and programs. While I don't want to get into a pissing contest about which OS is more secure, it's mildly humorous to find a Mac being used to advertise Microsoft's security, even if it is subtle.

Respectfully,
Andy Ringsmuth



I'll try and keep an eye on it and see if they decide to change the photo.....

Very small memory? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643761)

Sorry, what were you talking about?

Re:Very small memory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643779)

Reminds me of my favorite one-word joke.

"Senilityyyy......................."

Re:Very small memory? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643800)

Hi, I'm Troy McSomething or other.. you may remember me from... no.. wait.. ah, stuff it..

Imagine a beowolf cluster of.. what was it again?

etc, etc.

Re:Very small memory? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643890)

Very small memory... does it float?

Re:Very small memory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644341)

I do and i am spread and i see. With the hardware little more it piles up a retrocedence, keyss your bedspread. The indication fine gauze it does. Compared to in order to raise a shovel quality printed style of writing computer capability eagerly.

Perfect for 64bit computing. (5, Insightful)

Krik Johnson (764568) | about 10 years ago | (#8643763)

64 bit computers can have up to 18Tb of RAM, but with motherboard physical limitationss it iss not possible. Even with 4Gb dimms (which are expensive) your lucky to get more than 16Gb out of standard motherboards. With this technology, We will be able to break this barrier, and do wonderful things in small spaces.. I for one, welcome my 18Tb Dimm!

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (4, Informative)

millahtime (710421) | about 10 years ago | (#8643796)

"18Tb of RAM"

The problem I would see with this is the addressing of the ram. You couldn't use straight pins to do that high of number for addressing and what speeds would the buss work at. There are other limiting factors on how much ram you can really work with.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1)

GigsVT (208848) | about 10 years ago | (#8643846)

You couldn't use straight pins to do that high of number for addressing

No, you have to bend the pins slightly before you insert the DIP.

Seriously though, what the hell are you talking about. If you use 64 bits for addressing you get 1.84*10^19 addresses. (18 million terabytes, not 18 terabytes).

The current implementations use 48 bit addressing, which can address something like 250 TB of RAM.

I'm not sure (0)

way2trivial (601132) | about 10 years ago | (#8643952)

but don't you have to divide the bits (by 8) to get the bytes?

Re:I'm not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644295)

No...The number of bits used tells you how many addresses you have...For example...On an 8bit machine you would only have 256 possible address spaces (0-255) so max memory would have been 256mb.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (4, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 10 years ago | (#8643809)

Sheesh, what the hell would you do with 18Tb of RAM in a desktop computer?

"18Tb of RAM should be enough for everyone!"

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (5, Interesting)

TwistedGreen (80055) | about 10 years ago | (#8643849)

Mental simulation. Synthetic intelligence. Your computer would be powerful enough to not only do flat speech recognition, but would be able to have its own natural language engine... all processed in real-time.

Sweet.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (4, Informative)

selderrr (523988) | about 10 years ago | (#8643974)

eum, I don't want to disapoint you, but none of these is currently RAM bound. Current connectionst models require far more CPU power than memory to keep all nodes updated. Real-time is a distant future. Even non-realtime AI is currently more stupid then my 3 month old daugther.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644384)

Increase from highest sea tile full option to pay probably and it will be to talk.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1)

srussell (39342) | about 10 years ago | (#8644164)

Your computer would be powerful enough to not only do flat speech recognition, but would be able to have its own natural language engine... all processed in real-time.

This isn't so much an issue of memory, as processing power. Some good DSPs would be more helpful here than terabytes of memory.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 10 years ago | (#8643868)

Sheesh, what the hell would you do with 18Tb of RAM in a desktop computer?

Ever see "Weird Science"? Virtual woman!!!!

But with that much ram, she'd be even better at remembering all of my fuckups than my real girlfriend.

LK

18Tb of RAM? (1)

phyruxus (72649) | about 10 years ago | (#8643996)

I'll settle for an 8Tb GeForce >:>, and a 64-Gig RAMDisk on my PDA/Smartphone.

I'm not greedy.. ;)

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1)

marktoml (48712) | about 10 years ago | (#8644030)

By the tim e I can afford it in a desktop, it will probably be a few TB too little to run Windoze...

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (3, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 10 years ago | (#8643876)

I beleive 4GB Dimms are as large as they can go do to limitations in the addressing lines (pins) at 32 (havent checked this might be wrong). So untill a new form factor is released thats what we are stuck with. I would differ on the max expandability most MB's I have seen are running 4 DIMM slots per proc. I beleive this is the max they were designed to handle on there embeded memory controler. I am speaking of the Opterons of course. The PIV's currently have chipsets supporting piles and piles of DIMM slots at least 16 last I saw possibly more (64GB is the current max and I think they did that with 2GB sticks). So with these numbers and 4GB dimms thats 32GB in a 2 way Opteron setup and 64GB on an intel. The nice thing is the 8 way Opterons would be running 128GB max though thats a massive motherboard to support that.

Overall I dnt see this tech realy reducing the size of the ram on pin count alone more it will reduce the power consumption and profile of the dimms what increasign the potential density of a new replacement for DIMM's.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643905)

DDR supports 1Gb chips. They can be used to make 4GB DIMMs.

DDR-II makes possible to use 4Gb chips. They can be used to make 16GB DIMMs. However, it will take a few years before manufacturing technology improves enough to make manufacturing of 4Gb chips possible.

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1)

silence535 (101360) | about 10 years ago | (#8643941)

"640Gb software is all the memory anybody would ever need on a computer." -Gill Bates on small memory

Not 18TB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644004)

Not 18TB:
2^64 = 18,000 Petabytes = 18 MILLION Terabytes.
BeOS can address it all directly. If you can find a motherboard. :-)

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 10 years ago | (#8644084)

I don't know what boards you're looking at for large memory configurations, but 24GB [amdboard.com], 20GB [tyan.com] both use a maximum 2GB sticks for those. (Having more DDR slots than PCI slots is kinda strange looking)

Now, you could argue that these aren't standard motherboards, but then again, what 64 bit CPU motherboard is? For next year or two, I don't expect to be hitting the 20GB memory limit... ;)

Re:Perfect for 64bit computing. (1, Funny)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | about 10 years ago | (#8644104)

64 bit computers can have up to 18Tb of RAM, but with motherboard physical limitationss it iss not possible.

yep, yep.. Reminds me of when the MacII first came out. Based on the 68020, it would be, in theory, capable of addressing 2GB of ram. (one bit was used to switch between RAM and I/O space) I did some napkin math and figured that you could camoflage a 2GB memory unit as a desk. The memory would fit in the lid of the desk, with one pillar being a cooling unit, and the other a 16Kilowatt power supply).

I figured we could even revert back to a form of bank switched memory (if you would allow the pun) ... with banks of memory being switched off if you weren't using them. This would be a good bit worse, but roughly the same idea.

Right (4, Interesting)

Operating Thetan (754308) | about 10 years ago | (#8643768)

With these nanotech memories, several startup companies are envisioning future chips mixing logic, memory and reconfigurable computing elements

Do they mention if the CPU and motherboard manufacturing companies care? Technology succeeds because of marketing, not because it's innovative or high quality-witness Betamax,

MOD DOWN! Is an anti slash member (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643785)

Operating Thetan is a member of the anti-slash movement. They are a group of trolls that have bonded together! Please mod them down to stop their cause, for they have launched 3000+ post crapfloods in the past! Space cowboy, posting anonymously!

Re:Right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643992)

What are you nuts? Sorry but you sound like you have no clue what your talking about.

Stuff succeeds because of MARKETING?

Technology drives the industry.

So if your correct then if I can out with a terabyte memory module that cost a third of a DDR ram 4 gig module people will still by the more expansive RAM if I find a pretty enough box and advertise on the SuperBowl?!?

Marketing is just one part of a company and the products they market, everybody works together to create a successfull product.

Don't make me break out a list of the hundreds of products that got good PR and had fabulous slick marketing scemes and failed utterly in the real world.

DeLoren automobiles, anybody?

Sure a good product with crappy marketing WILL fail. But marketing isn't the magic bullet that you think it is. (of course by your attitude I assume your conceited enough to beleive that average person has the similar mental capacities of a sheep). Bad products with good marketing fail everyday, too.

Re:Right (1)

phyruxus (72649) | about 10 years ago | (#8644126)

I imagine that this tech would be f*ing great in Intel's System-On-a-Chip (I forget the name).

Re:Right (1)

cr_nucleus (518205) | about 10 years ago | (#8644217)

Technology succeeds because of marketing, not because it's innovative or high quality-witness Betamax

Well, you could have a point, except we're not really talking about some consumer media here. if this thing can work, it'll all come down to the manufacturing cost. just look at it, small (can it get much smaller ?), fast, non volatile and doesn't require new fabs.
if on top of that it can get cheap enough, i don't see why it wouldn't appear in all kind of electronic devices, if not all of them.
well, maybe if someone discovers something even better :)

Re:Right (2, Insightful)

tekunokurato (531385) | about 10 years ago | (#8644285)

Whether you're a troll like the other guy says or not, there are thousands of companies that employ engineers to develop technology and then licence the technology to companies like motorola, intel, etc. The technology may require some degree of marketing to achieve critical mass usage, but that's irrelevent because if there's enough economic value (which this project practically guarantees, eventually) a larger company will either license it or develop its own.

Re:Right (1)

AceM2 (655504) | about 10 years ago | (#8644475)

Imagine how easily it would be to market something like this, it practically sells itself. The best advertising these days is word of mouth, NOT pretty commercials and boxes. If something like this gets developed, then people all over the tech community will be talking about it. Betamax is an extremely poor example, besides the fact that it's a totally different kind of product, they had many more problems than just marketing.

ideal memory (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643773)

this seems to bee ideal, looks like it will need little power for keeping data in memory.. however it might be terribly slow or degrading in time, the article is kind of sloppy on the details of this. anyone?

Re:ideal memory (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 10 years ago | (#8643998)

We're talking about molecular physics here - speeds are very fast. As for degradation, as it's molecular, I seriously doubt that's going to be an issue. As they said, the molecules are stable, which is half the battle won :-P

Of course, I'm not anything even remotely like a molecular physicist.

Re:ideal memory (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 10 years ago | (#8644235)

yeah... the amount of energy that will be needed to break a covalent bond will be immense... carbon especially has a strong molecular bond to itself at those scales.

Already being done with conventional technology (4, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 10 years ago | (#8643777)

Xilinx [xilinx.com] have silicon with embedded PowerPC processors, BlockRam (chunks of pre-generated SRAM) and huge swathes of FPGA cells and interconnect. The chips have other abilities too - built-in 18-bit multipliers and communications channges (10 Gbps/channel, 20 channels!). All very cool stuff. Very expensive too :-(

I'm sort of surprised there aren't more FPGA-hackers than there appears to be. It's not hard to learn verilog (very similar to C), and despite what most FPGA designers will tell you, as long as you keep your mind focused on 'everything happens in parallel', a decent programmer can produce good FPGA code too. The start kits (300,000 gates, about enough for a hardware JPEG core and maybe a network MAC) are cheap (100 or so), and designing a processor [fpgacpu.org] is a pretty simple operation, and immensely gratifying :-)

Just my thoughts,

Simon

Space cowboy is a lying scumbag! (-1)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | about 10 years ago | (#8643832)

He is a member of the anti-slash movement, he is a post plaglirst, He is a known troll plus he called me a lying scumbag! I hope you mod this fucking bastard down to the Terrible Karma range like he did to me and his army of zombie moderators!

Re:Space cowboy is a lying scumbag! (0, Offtopic)

Space Cowb0y (764576) | about 10 years ago | (#8643891)

Fuck off Mookore. Your nothing but a sick, fat gentoo linux zealot who karma whores and then posts links to goatse discuised as debian downloads! You are nothing but a fucking moron! And I hope you burn in the firey tretches of hell!

Space cowboy is not a lying scumbag, actually (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643916)

Dear dear, mookore, did I hit a nerve ?

Hmm. Armies of zombie moderators huh? (Looks around), I don't see any nearby. Perhaps they're over by the grassy knoll. As for being a 'fucking bastard', well, the former I'm quite keen on, and the latter was an accident at birth. I deny the 'known troll' though, and (I assume you mean 'plagiarist'), methinks the mookore doth protest overmuch...

As for the 'Lying scumbag' moniker I laid upon you, let everyone [slashdot.org] decide for themselves (cf: plagiarist)...

Re:Already being done with conventional technology (1)

millahtime (710421) | about 10 years ago | (#8643859)

FPGAs are great mind you but to do RAM on this scale would require more density than I have seen in an FPGA. There is also the fact that there are still many who don't even know anything about FPGA technology.

Re:Already being done with conventional technology (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643937)

The FPGA hackers are hanging out at OpenCores [opencores.org].

Re:Already being done with conventional technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644146)

Dude, software programmers are terrbile electronics engineers. Believe me, I've worked with some wannabees. Had to fire them quickly, before they produce any more buggy, slow circuits.
FPGA programming is not a matter of knowing the language, is't a matter of knowing the circuitry.

Re:Already being done with conventional technology (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 10 years ago | (#8644253)

duh.. programmers look at getting the job done, not done efficiently.

but electrical engineers suck at programming so we are even :-)

too good to be true? (1, Funny)

irokie (697424) | about 10 years ago | (#8643778)

it seems well and good, but i for one won't be convinced until i see them in the palm of my hand.

under my electron microscope....

Smaller memory? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643784)

My memory is small enough, thank you.

Now... what was I doing?

Emerging technologies (4, Interesting)

zazas_mmmm (585262) | about 10 years ago | (#8643789)

Nanotech memory is very exciting, but there's a lot more than the technology itself that determines whether it's the next big thing. So far all I see is a weblog with some basic diagrams of how it works and some serious brochureware at Zettacore.

Not to state the obvious, but it will take low manufacturing costs, industry willingness, consumer demand, and a whole lot of marketing before this or any other revolutionary changes become de facto standards.

Better, smaller, faster, is no match for cheaper, more accessible, and well-marketed.

MOD DOWN! Is an anti slash member (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643808)

zazas_mmmm is a member of the anti slash movement. They are karma whoring to get more karma, which they use for their trolls! Please mod them down and stop this nonsence today! Space cowboy (posting anonymously)

Re:Emerging technologies (2, Insightful)

Antity-H (535635) | about 10 years ago | (#8643971)

I do agree with most of your points, however I don't think you should doubt consumer demand:).
I see every new program require more memory, more porcessing power. More and more information is processed by computer, which does require memory. Even if we could momentarily reduce or maintain memory needs through optimisation of the programs. In the end we will need better, faster and smaller memory. Wheter that is now or not I don't know but in the end the demande will be there.

Additionally, if this memory can be used in a persistent way, it would allow for high density, high reliability, and high speed data storage. Then It could really be the next big thing.

Size doesn't matter (3, Funny)

sdkramer (411640) | about 10 years ago | (#8643790)

Does this mean I'm gonna start getting spam about how HU6E my memory is? I'm starting to get memory envy.

Non volatile? (5, Interesting)

MrIrwin (761231) | about 10 years ago | (#8643791)

Unlike SRAM, which requires a charged state to be maintained, and DRAMS which reuire continuous refresh, these devices would appear to permanently change a molecular structure.....i.e. they would seem to offer high speed read write non volatile memory.

This could not only increase RAM but mean we have computing devices with just one big memory pool...no Flash, no Disk, no CD, no DVD.........

Can I order mine now please?

Re:Non volatile? (1)

Daath (225404) | about 10 years ago | (#8643854)

Wow, think of it! 10 TB solid state, ultra fast disks! Whoa. I'm getting dizzy here.

Re:Non volatile? (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | about 10 years ago | (#8643888)

Actually, I still see computers having separate memory spaces. However, I think you'll see storage defined as 'portable' or 'integrated' instead of 'volatile' and 'non-volatile'.

Re:Non volatile? (1)

makomk (752139) | about 10 years ago | (#8644198)

Considering that computer systems crash, I would expect there to still be a distinction - between the memory that gets wiped on a reset and that which doesn't.

Imagine if, when you reset your computer after a crash, whatever caused it to crash was still there. Until someone works out a reliable way of automatically recovering crashed programs and OS's, wiping memory will be necessary. And I don't think having to do a full reformat every time Windows crashes would be fun...

Good news or is it? (Dum Dum Dummm!) (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 years ago | (#8643804)

Good old progress making something small and making it smaller then integrated with other parts. This can have impact in a ton of areas including smaller and lighter laptops, PDA, and PCs, perhaps a future where you can mix Xerox's Electronic Paper with this to offer interactive News Papers. As well as a lot of cool stuff. But of corse the will be people who will use it for evil Like a chip that is implanted in Tin Foil that can see where you are. And how you are using tin foil. Or Devices attached to clothing that can all you to be tracked and record everything you see and say. or a Beowulf cluster of these the size of a PC. Oh the horror! Just remember when they start using these chips for evil please remember that you recommend them first!

Some times there is truth in sarcasm, other times there isn't hmmm.

TFH (1)

Morosoph (693565) | about 10 years ago | (#8643865)

Like a chip that is implanted in Tin Foil that can see where you are.

Noooo! My tin foil hat might be chipped!

Re:TFH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643907)

Noooo! My tin foil hat might be chipped!

You're a fool to wear one anyway. The whole tinfoil hat thing was invented by the CIA to make it easier to identify dissidents. The tin also acts as an antenna to increase the effectiveness of the orbital mind-control satellites.

small memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643806)

640K should be enough for everybody

ohhh... the physical size ..

How big are your memory chips? (3, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | about 10 years ago | (#8643824)

Very cool but memory chips aren't really gigantic. I would be more interested in speed or parallel memory access.

The concept is nothing new... (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | about 10 years ago | (#8643828)

... ST Microelectronics already supply devices that mix programmable logic, memory and IO from their Programmable System Device [st.com] range. But there is something of a reluctance for commercial designs to incorporate them because they're single source components. Why risk being unable to make your product in the future because you've used a specialised component in your system which has gone obsolete - especially when there's a plethora of available direct drop-in replacements for a discrete solution (EG separate programmable logic and memory).

Re:The concept is nothing new... (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 10 years ago | (#8644013)

Of course if you'd read the article, you'd know the main bit was about using molecules to store data, not integrating it all together...

I don't want these (3, Funny)

mkro (644055) | about 10 years ago | (#8643843)

These molecules, which are about 1 nanometer in size, are also selfassembling
and at night, after you turn off the PC and go to bed, they swarm out of your computer, heading for your pillow to EAT YOUR BRAIN.

4 Bits in 8 States? (2, Insightful)

femto (459605) | about 10 years ago | (#8643852)

From their "details about the technology."
The company said it has designed molecules with eight states, potentially offering a 4-bit-per-cell density.

I hope their research is better than their PR. Or maybe their technology really is unique!

Re:4 Bits in 8 States? (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | about 10 years ago | (#8643918)

Not unique.....Other types of memory also have redundency error tolerant architecture, as mentioned by the PR people and not read by you.

Re:4 Bits in 8 States? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644072)

16 (=2^4) states are required to store 4 bits. They don't have any extra states for redundancy, but are in fact 8 states short.

Re:4 Bits in 8 States? (2, Insightful)

Polkyb (732262) | about 10 years ago | (#8644241)

Nope... They're bob on the money...

0000 = 0 and 1111 = 15... There are only actually 8 states, if you count them

I wonder... (3, Insightful)

rkoot (557181) | about 10 years ago | (#8643860)

whether these new technologies could change the way a modern computer works.
I mean, if the chips become so much smaller, it's easy to see the capacity of i.e. Ram chips will reach levels unimaginable now.
But how are these bits gonna be addressed ? you need *lots* of pins, and how to connect those pins to the logical layer ?
I guess motherboards, processors and such need to be radically redesigned to be able to use this new technology.
How long would it take before mainstream mobo's use other (like i.e. photons instead of electrons) than conventional techniques ?

just curious

r.

Re:I wonder... (3, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | about 10 years ago | (#8643924)

"whether these new technologies could change the way a modern computer works."

Nanotech sure will change the way a computer works. If you can have atoms doing the work you have gates doing now you can fit a lot more on a chip. They can manipulate gates at the molecular level now, the problem to be solved is between that tiny world and our big interfaces.

Re:I wonder... (2, Interesting)

MrIrwin (761231) | about 10 years ago | (#8643969)

I envisage just swarthes of tiny black boxes interlinked by a grid of channelised synchronous serial links.

I am not a visionary, BTW, this is more or less how big digital switches in the telecoms industry works. We are just talking about scaling down from board level to chip level.

IMHO, the biggest headache to overcome in the chip industry will not be how to package and interconnect, but how to incorporate "outside world" buffers on the edge of these devices which are powerfull enougth to pump the data, rugged enougth to withstand electrical disturbances, and yet be comaptible with the process and not take up the entire chip surface.

My money, if I had any, would be on Chip on Chip solutions, that is superchips which are factory mounted on the back of buffer/driver/switch matirix chips which in turn clip into the serial data matrix.

NExt step (1)

Fisher99 (580290) | about 10 years ago | (#8643861)

Surgical implanets to repair lost memory cells in the human brain. Was there not a film about this a few years ago called Johnny something?

Re:NExt step (1)

revolvement (742502) | about 10 years ago | (#8643874)

Surgical implanets to repair lost memory cells in the human brain. Was there not a film about this a few years ago called Johnny something?

Y'know, for the life of me, I can't remember...

Re:NExt step (2, Informative)

carm$y$ (532675) | about 10 years ago | (#8643945)

Johnny something

Mnemonic. Johnny Mnenonic. Tough word, isn't it? :)
And it wasn't about lost memory cells, it was about selling storage space in your
enhanced brain...

blah blah blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8643930)

till i can buy a stick of this at dick smiths, it dosent mean all that much to me

Re:blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644129)

y'know, it never occured to me but Dick Smiths would make a great name for a herbal viagra prodct... Make you a man of steel and all that...

The size factor won't change much (4, Interesting)

digrieze (519725) | about 10 years ago | (#8643948)

Except for embedded devices like cell phones and pdas, this won't change much. The memory density may go up, and since the chips are thinner the heat problem may improve, but the size of system chips won't change.

The reason is simple, human fingers and hands aren't going to shrink. SDRAM cards are about as small as most people can handle comfortably. SDRAM chips for CPUs work very well not at holding chips but at being easy to install and make positive contact with a large number of contacts on a relatively small edge. The design factors for these things are many, the chips they carry are only a single one of them.

I suppose someday it'll be theoretically possible to put that monster gamer machine in a thinline dress watch, but as they found with the "databank" watches the limitations are the input/output devices average people can comfortably work with, not electronic capabilities.

Re:The size factor won't change much (0)

JosKarith (757063) | about 10 years ago | (#8644046)

"I suppose someday it'll be theoretically possible to put that monster gamer machine in a thinline dress watch, but as they found with the "databank" watches the limitations are the input/output devices average people can comfortably work with, not electronic capabilities."
Right, now add the above concept with the mental-control system from yesterday.
Mental control, nanoscale technology, 3-d glasses...pretty soon you have the ultimate in wearable technology
Just hope they don't put the reset switch in the groin [theregister.co.uk]

Re:The size factor won't change much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644293)

Okay, so maybe the chips won't get smaller. Instead -- they'll just hold a s*itload of more RAM. :-) I'd be happy with that. :-)

Re:The size factor won't change much (1)

gobbo (567674) | about 10 years ago | (#8644447)

SDRAM cards are about as small as most people can handle comfortably.

I'd be quite satisfied popping 24TB of RAM into a machine using a part the size of a slim watch battery. I think my grubby paws could handle that.

Creating crystals vs. large-scale patterns (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | about 10 years ago | (#8643951)

The biggest challenge to this type of tech is creating complex large-scale patterns. Its one thing to create a fully regular "crystal" of 1-bit memmory cells, its another to create the highly irregular, specific, chip-spanning structures of a CPU. If we are going to make complex nanocircuits, we need a way to ensure that the right bit gets connected to the left bit.

I wonder if a better process would be to adapt the proteosynthesis process for creating micro-polypeptide clusters that are circuit elements with highly specific binding sites for self assembly. A DNA sequence would encode an mRNA sequence that is passed to a ribsome-like micro-factory. An alphabet of tRNA units would carry heavily modified amino-acids and provide both the electrical and structural of properties of the polypeptide. Different polypetides might make transistors, autonomous clock circuits, chemical-to-electrical battery subunits, wires, tees, etc.

Part of the DNA sequence would encode binding sites that are highly specific. Each electrical component would have a unique code on each terminal that only binds with the component that it connects to in the circuit. By labelling all the terminii of the components with these specific binging patterns, you the potential for self-assembly. To make a complex circuit, you make separate batches of each component, then mix the batches together and they self-assemble into the circuits. Thus, a soup of appropriately labeled transistors and wires would self-assemble into a soup of full-adder circuits.

The use of larger-scale binding sites would enable hierarchical self-assembly of self-assembled micro-components (e.g., a soup of 1-bit full-adder circuits might self-assemble into a 8-bit full-adders, or 8-bit full-adders might bind to a gated accumulator registers, etc.)

I doubt this technology would let you create a 64-bit processor - the binding-site combinatorics get too ugly. But it might let you create RAM, RFID circuits, or small CPUs (e.g., the Intel 8080 only needs 6000 transistors)

BTW, my post is a modified dup of a previous post of mine [slashdot.org], but I thought it might be relevant.

Re:Creating crystals vs. large-scale patterns (1)

vivian (156520) | about 10 years ago | (#8644177)

Doesn't it occur to anyone that making a super fast self assembling potentially AI cabable organic based computer might be a bad idea? I can just see those zombie PCs running around now - "Need more brains - must eat brains..."

The only thing that will save us is if they're running windows.

Re:Creating crystals vs. large-scale patterns (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 years ago | (#8644508)

Maybe it would be better program DNA to grow an organic computer instead. Of course, that would require the reverse engineering of how DNA encodes its data. Once understood, I'm sure DNA compilers wouldn't be too far off in the distant future. So rather then turning source code into binary, you could turn source code into DNA. From there, you grow whatever it is you programmed.

And yes, the applications from doing this virtually unlimited.

Another take on "smaller memory". (0)

tai_Dasher (319541) | about 10 years ago | (#8643999)

Does this mean my computer will be like the guy in Memento?

[Running] "Okay, what am I doing?"

[Sees another guy also running]
"I'm chasing this guy".
[Another guy shoots at Leonard]
"Nope. He's chasing me".


I wonder how my UT2004 bot-matches would go.

This can be done with FPGAS! (0, Redundant)

Krik Johnson (764568) | about 10 years ago | (#8644029)

Xilinx [xilinx.com] have silicon with embedded PowerPC processors, BlockRam (chunks of pre-generated SRAM) and huge swathes of FPGA cells and interconnect. The chips have other abilities too - built-in 18-bit multipliers and communications channges (10 Gbps/channel, 20 channels!). All very cool stuff. Very expensive too :-(

I'm sort of surprised there aren't more FPGA-hackers than there appears to be. It's not hard to learn verilog (very similar to pascal), and despite what most FPGA designers will tell you, as long as you keep your mind focused on 'everything happens in parallel', a decent programmer can produce good FPGA code too. The start kits (300,000 gates, about enough for a hardware JPEG core and maybe a network MAC) are cheap (100 or so), and designing a processor [fpgacpu.org] is a pretty simple operation, and immensely gratifying :-)

Just my thoughts,

Krik

J. Publics' 'memory' reduced to almost nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644173)

this is accomplished buy execrabilious manipulation of J.'s incredible shrinking attention span (caused by lack of oxygen, plus excessive greed/fear/ego based bullshipping?).

lookout bullow.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators..... where everything that ever happened, or is going to happen, is available for download. as always, there's never a cover charge.

Obligatory 50 First Dates reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644181)

Doctor (to group): "Everyone, I'd like for you to meet 'Ten Second' Tom."
Tom (to group): "Hi, I'm Tom!"
(The group introduces themeselves.)
Doctor (to group): "Tom was involved in a hunting accident, that left him with only a 10 second memory span."
Tom (looking shocked, turns to Doctor): "Really? I was? That's terrible!"
Doctor (to Tom): Don't worry, in about 3 seconds, you'll get over it ..."
(blank look comes over Tom's face, then he smiles.)
Tom (turning to group): "Oh, hello! I'm Tom!"

How is this news? (1)

Mirk (184717) | about 10 years ago | (#8644249)

How is small memory a new thing? I had small memory on my VIC-20.

Obligatory 80s microcomputer fanboy reference: anyone else remember the adverts for the Dragon 32 and its "massive 32Kb memory"? The VIC's 5Kb is the smallest amount I've had to work with, but only because I managed to avoid the ZX-81.

It certainly makes you think about browsers whose publicity material describes them as having a "small footprint", which then turns out to mean no more than ten megabytes. Or two thousand VIC-20s, if you want to think of it that way. A VIC is about three inches tall, so if you stack 2000 on top of each other (enough to run a "small footprint" browser), they'll be about 500 feet tall which IIRC is about the height of the Eiffel Tower. Now there's a mental image!

tragic testing mishap (1)

BlackWire (746767) | about 10 years ago | (#8644310)

Months from now Extremetech gets this memory to test, but in a tragic testing mishap they set it to half of the actual rated MHz in the motherboard bios, and don't bother to run CPUID to verify the memory speed making the same mistake they have done with their latest couple of Athlon 64 FX tests.

Self Assembly (1)

Threed (886) | about 10 years ago | (#8644355)

The first thing I thought was "OH NO! GREY GOO!", but then I read the article. Whew... More like self organizing on a prepared substrate.

Whatever happened to Nantero? (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | about 10 years ago | (#8644479)

There was a company, nantero [nantero.com], that was/is working on nanoscale RAM. Their site says that it will replace all other types of RAM. Problem is, all dates have been taken down, or else I'm not looking in the right place. I remember a year or so ago they wanted to have this rolled out by some small amount of time, like 2006 or 008, but I can't remember which. Does anybody know more?
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