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Researchers Achieve Amazing Memory Density

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the line-forms-here-for-flash-replacements dept.

Data Storage 279

Mr. Fahrenheit writes in with a Wired story on research out of Arizona State, where researchers have "developed a low-cost, low-power computer memory that could put terabyte-sized thumb drives in consumers' pockets within a few years... The new memory technology — programmable metallization cell (PMC) — comes as current storage technologies are starting to reach their physical limits." PMC involves the on-demand creation of copper nano-wire bridges. It's said to promise memories that are 1/10 the cost and 1/1000 the power consumption of conventional Flash memory. Three memory manufacturers have licensed the technology and the first chips are expected on the market in 18 months.

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279 comments

Other specs? (4, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152681)

How about speed, durability, mean time before failure, etc.

oblig. gargoyles reference (3, Informative)

akirapill (1137883) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152815)

FTA: "Kozicki says the process is like condensing a crystal from a solution, except that the process is almost infinitely reversible." Remember that gargoyles episode where like half of australia gets covered in nano crystals? That's what your room looks like after a drive failure.

Re:oblig. gargoyles reference (0)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152921)

Well, one of the inventors says good things about it. Honestly, whaddya expect? But how about giving us some hard performance figures?

Re:Other specs? (1)

Enlightenment (1073994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152847)

Kozicki says the process is like condensing a crystal from a solution, except that the process is almost infinitely reversible. If the PMC is fed a positive charge, the copper atoms return to their previous free-floating state, and the nanowires disassemble. From TFA. Wouldn't this imply that they think its mean time to failure is pretty long? Of course, they didn't say anything about speed or durability. But nanoscale changes should happen pretty fast, right?

Re:Other specs? (2, Insightful)

Enlightenment (1073994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152871)

Whoops. That should read:

Kozicki says the process is like condensing a crystal from a solution, except that the process is almost infinitely reversible. If the PMC is fed a positive charge, the copper atoms return to their previous free-floating state, and the nanowires disassemble.
From TFA. Wouldn't this imply that they think its mean time to failure is pretty long? Of course, they didn't say anything about speed or durability. But nanoscale changes should happen pretty fast, right?

Re:Other specs? (3, Insightful)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153161)

How about letting them build the thing first? Or do you suggest we form a statistical opinion based on the two or three prototypes that might exist?
#places in circular file under vaporware for 18 months.

Re:Other specs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153415)

If their research is at all scholarly, then they should be aware
that there are some "soft" spots in the thumb drive products that
are currently available, such as the relatively limited number of
write cycles, speed, etc.

So, they should either acknowledge that they are aware of these
issues and can't offer concrete data at this time, or publish the
actual data thereby putting their cards on the table.

Failure to do either will relegate their announcement to vapourware status.

Re:Other specs? (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153255)

I and my dead 4GB flash drive strongly agree. I want to actually be able to run games that load like 10,000 skin files off a tiny drive without it dying in half a year so I can sit down and play advanced games. The demand for "bring my software with me" style technology is huge right now and all the hardware for it currently fails way too fast. Btw holographics from InPhase still has this beat already on write once backup technology. Nobody's ever going to be the leader above them in this decade. You know why? Cuz right now I can pick up the phone and get a functional drive and disks that can hold 1.6TB each with a shelf life of like forever. And of course speeds of 120 MB/s reading. This 18 months stuff isn't going to cut it. If this really is re-writeable though, it has a chance if and when it finally comes out.

Re:Other specs? (4, Interesting)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153403)

I was curious as to your claim of "shelf life of like forever" for the InPhase disks, so I checked them out.

50 year media archive life
http://www.inphase-technologies.com/products/default.asp?tnn=3 [inphase-technologies.com]

Among the manufacturers that have done testing, there is consensus that, under recommended storage conditions, CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R discs should have a life expectancy of 100 to 200 years or more
http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub121/sec4.html [clir.org]

Plus InPhase only sells the 300GB version now. Your claim to be able to call up and get the 1.6TB discs must have been made 3 to 4 years in the future since that is when their website says they will make the 3rd generation disks that are 1.6TB.
Plus one of those drives costs $18,000! (and the 300GB disks costs $180). I could build a RAID and replace hard drives every few years and still come out ahead price-wise.

And it will be released in 5 years (4, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152685)

Togheher with your flying car. No. Really.

Re:And it will be released in 5 years (5, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152829)

ah, just in time for the Year of the Linux desktop, you mean. I look forward to using them in the Paperless Office we'll all have.

Re:And it will be released in 5 years (5, Funny)

risk one (1013529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153225)

It's a shame that all that extra productivity will be completely negated when everybody gets addicted to Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:And it will be released in 5 years (3, Funny)

robzon (981455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152933)

... aaaand with Duke Nukem Forever preinstalled! Yay!

Oblig. (5, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152691)

Who on earth would ever need more than a terabyte?

Re:Oblig. (0)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152725)

And with one single (thoughtless) comment you fail the test.

I hereby formally revoke your Geek Membership Card.

And to answer your question: Neal Stephenson -> Snowcrash -> Gargoyles

Re:Oblig. (5, Funny)

Asm-Coder (929671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152839)

* - Joke

  O
-|- - You
/ \

Re:Oblig. (5, Funny)

Justus (18814) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152947)

Holy shit, the joke cut his head off!!!

Re:Oblig. (1)

tulare (244053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153061)

It was the nam-shub, obviously...

Re:Oblig. (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153251)

Holy shit, the joke cut his head off!!!

I thought he was just hanging his head in shame, but maybe you're right.

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153239)

too bad there's no -1 idiot moderation

Re:Oblig. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152729)

Dunno. Who's planning to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7? ;)

Re:Oblig. (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152751)

I think it's not so much that humongous storage will be available, but that such storage will be so small. With this kind of technology more reasonable data storage sizes will be available at much smaller physical sizes, clearing the way for all sorts of new technology.

Re:Oblig. (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153285)

You could actually have a thumb drive implanted in your thumb!

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152845)

Who on earth would ever need more than a terabyte?
Where else would I store the numbers from my random number generator?

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152851)

Porn! And lots of it!

Re:Oblig. (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152957)


i know it was only a joke.
But i am perfectly happy with 250GB of space right now. Lets say it is time to upgrade right now. All that i want is that it is about 1/3 terabyte, small, reliable, fast, power efficient, and under $60. I use 3 year old ibook with 30GB of space. all that i need to do is carry a external 2.5inch drive only when i need it. i can afford HD upgrade and all that but I would need external drive no matter what. i would want any SSD right now on my ibook to extend battery life. all that i care about laptop is battery hours. buttom line brand new hardware these days are way beyond my needs. i just wanna get exactly what i want for cheap price.

Re:Oblig. (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153101)

As soon as they reach a terabyte, I'll only need to buy eight of them to fit all my porn on. I, for one, am eager to see this technology realized.

Re:Oblig. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153405)

wow... you are a dumbass.

Re:Oblig. (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153299)

Who on earth would ever need more than a terabyte of porn?
Corrected it for ya. Resolution so high, you can count the genital warts.

Vaporware. (3, Insightful)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152693)

We've all seen this a dozen times before. All "amazing density storage" is vaporware, even if we'll be able to buy it real soon now.

Re:Vaporware. (1, Interesting)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152709)

Not to mention the price per gig will be ridiculous. Why not just get a MyBook or something similar and say to hell with all of this vapor nonsense.

Re:Vaporware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152745)

I remember reading a "holographic crystal high-density storage RSN" article in some PC magazine, back when I couldn't afford a Hayes 2400 BPS modem because it was $800.

Re:Vaporware. (5, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152755)

Are you kidding me? putting 1.44 Mb on a 3 & 1/2 inch disk still blows my mind. If there is a nuclear holocaust, and I'm the smartest person left alive, I'd consider myself a genius if I could get to that stage. Or I suppose, as the smartest person alive, I could just invent a clay tablet and They'd worship me as a god. yeah, that seems easier. But still, man 1.44 mb! un-freaking-believable.

Re:Vaporware. (4, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152853)

I don't think most people nowdays appreciate how much 1.44 MB is...

Re:Vaporware. (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153149)

Slashdot certainly doesn't. I tried being clever and replying with the first 1.44MB pi (1 char = 1 byte) and got this error:

No discussion or comments found for this request. To create your own discussion, please use journals.

Kind of an odd error to get when it seems like something along the lines of "Post too large" would be more appropriate. A possible bug?

For the record, it was the first 1,509,949 digits of pi and I was quite proud of it.

Re:Vaporware. (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153341)

For the record, it was the first 1,509,949 digits of pi and I was quite proud of it.

You worked a little too hard. 3.5 inch floppy disks were measured in a bizarre combination of 10-based and 2-based multiples. A "1.44 MB" disk actually had a formatted capacity of 1.44 * 1024 * 1000, or 1,474,560 bytes.

Re:Vaporware. (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153385)

That depends on the filesystem, does it not? That's the size of an MS-DOS formatted disk. I wonder what size you might get from the same disk if it's Minix-formatted, or HFS-formatted.

Re:Vaporware. (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153323)

I don't think most people nowdays appreciate how much 1.44 MB is...
They will if you make them copy it out in punch cards. My high school computer teacher used that as a threat. Then again, she also warned us to keep those little plastic sleeves on the 3.5 disks to prevent the spread of viruses. *shakes head sadly*

Re:Vaporware. (1)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152883)

I don't mean to say that we'll never have the advertised storage density - we all remember our first 100 MB system, or 1 GB system, or 100 GB system, whatever seemed impossible to fill at the time we were growing up - but you're joking if you don't have a product on the market which someone has bought.

Well, youngin, many of us remember... (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153321)

our first 16k systems, our first 12 Megabyte hard disk (external) and the massive full height 80MB one that came along later. Anyone own a SHUGART drive?

Re:Vaporware. (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153023)

Then you would be right up there with Yoshiro Nakamatsu [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Vaporware. (1)

BillyBlaze (746775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153373)

According to the back of this envelope [google.com] , on an unformatted floppy disk you can fit about 100 bits on an area the size of the period at the end of this sentence. No wonder the damn things never work. Heh, they were great for getting out of homework back in the day.

This is only part of the problem (0)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152699)

Having the ability to store basically everything in an easily transportable format is great and all, but it only opens up two other major problems.
  • how to back it all up
  • how to secure it
Most people (end-users) wouldn't recognize a good backup if it jumped up and bit them on the proverbial, and even less would have "good security" (hard encryption, long password that change frequently, etc).

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152781)

Well they say its cheap.... so i imagine youd just buy a second one and keep that copy in a safe or something...

Re:This is only part of the problem / It's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152783)

Security to most users always takes a back to functionality. If security/backup can be done dumbified but effectively and backup *ALL* your "precious" then it's a success story. If not; I'd be willing to back it up and store it in a safe under my bed while sleeping with a gun ableit safety on, hehe.(Just kidding, I'm not allowed to have firearms but I got serious chop-suey-socky skills, really).

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152791)

* how to back it all up
* how to secure it


Your newness is blinding - try Leopard's Time Machine [apple.com] ...

Mac Time Machine - rsync for dummies (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153309)

That is really cool. Sure, rsync has been doing that for years for us geeks, but Apple took the concept and gave it a name and metaphor that I think everyone will understand. The metaphor will still work when they introduce the Apple remote Time Machine service for internet backups. I don't have a Mac, I'm a Linux guy (like to hack on projects), but I can appreciate excellent UI design.

Re:Mac Time Machine - rsync for dummies (2, Insightful)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153411)

rsync makes incremental backups?

-:sigma.SB

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153311)

* how to secure it
Your newness is blinding - try Leopard's Time Machine [apple.com] ...

I see nothing related to security on that.

It also says that it "copies the entire contents of the computer", which isn't backing up a portable storage device which is what gp was questioning.

Hourly backups on removable media like your key chain sized USB drive is also a horrible approach as you would like to backup on connection and on disconnection without needing to wait for the backup to finish.

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

CatoNine (638960) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152807)

Errr, providing the hardware actueally works:
- how to back it all up > On another one or two
- how to secure it > Using RSA crypto & blowfish
Nuf said.

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152849)

Mr. Darwin will take care of it I think. :)

Re:This is only part of the problem (4, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152891)

how to back it all up


Buy two, they're small.


how to secure it


Best way is to build in a Bluetooth interface with encryption, then swallow the memory module. (small grappling hooks will secure it to the lining of your small intestine). That way if the bad guys want your private information, they'll have to (quite literally) go through you to get it.

Re:This is only part of the problem (2, Funny)

deopmix (965178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153243)

I kinda wonder how much apple would charge to change the battery on THAT.

Re:This is only part of the problem (5, Funny)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152905)

how to back it all up
I trust the manufacturer's word. I have no reason to believe a solid brand-name disk would ever fail.

how to secure it
Nobody needs to hack me, because I have nothing to hide!

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153025)

how to secure it


The guys over at Ironkey.com seemed to figured that one out.

One down, one left to go.

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153083)

Don't forget how to power it. What's the point of exceptionally large storage for portable media devices if you still have to recharge every couple of hours before utilizing a fraction of it...be it either video, music, document/image processing etc. If only battery technology could follow the development curve of miniaturization even slightly.

Re:This is only part of the problem (1)

Toandeaf (1014715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153377)

Wait, are you suggesting that the only use, or even the main use, of portable storage is for using it with a laptop when you are not near a power outlet? Personally, I thought they were mainly used for backup or carrying large amounts of data with you when you are traveling. DVDs work fairly well for when you are on a plane.

That's not an engineering problem. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153201)

We already have all kinds of good encryption.

Assuming this is cheap, you just buy another one to back it up on. (And if it's not cheap, you probably can't afford the first one, anyway.)

The bigger problem is a social engineering one. Someone is going to forget to backup, and someone is going to get their data stolen. But you can't solve these with technology any more than you can cause them with technology.

Almost Infiniate? (3, Insightful)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152703)

"Kozicki says the process is like condensing a crystal from a solution, except that the process is almost infinitely reversible. If the PMC is fed a positive charge, the copper atoms return to their previous free-floating state, and the nanowires disassemble."

I would like to know the exact number of cycles this will take, plus or minus a few million times.

The technology looks like it would eventual deplete the material used for the interconnect. But than again I am not a physicist.

Finally! (4, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152727)

Finally, they will have a viable means to distribute Duke Nuke'm Forever!

Re:Finally! (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153397)

Or a way to upgrade Zonk's memory for dupes!

Good news (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152759)

"researchers have developed a low-cost, low-power computer memory that could put terabyte-sized thumb drives in consumers' pockets within a few years"

Screw consumers - think of the reviewers!

That should give fresh momentum to the "how much is too much?" [slashdot.org] swag topic taco seems to love so much...heaven forbid we should walk too close to the edge on that one.

In other news - Boston wins series. Yawn...

The problem with this memory.... (1, Interesting)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152765)

The problem with how memory is that it gives developers no incentive to optimize code to run it faster/better/smaller other then small speed boosts. 1 TB of storage would be nice, but if it means that I have to download 300 GB for a program or a Linux distribution with the same speed of 1 MB/second it would take forever or say a 7 MB web site. We need to see an increase in Internet speeds at affordable prices first before we go overboard with physical storage.

Re:The problem with this memory.... (2, Interesting)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152863)

Absolutely. Also, indexing and searching the junk is an issue. I read a white paper a couple weeks ago about that. Everyone is keeping everything they download, taking a dozen pics a day, and then want to find one thing on their 2TB personal storage array. Also, filesystem efficiency is becoming an issue. Google and other large datacentres throw huge amounts of processing power an cashing hierachies at the problem, but how does that work for the home user? If we have 1TB thumbdrives, then we'll probably have 1PB internal drives, ouch.

Re:The problem with this memory.... (1)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152869)

Ummmm...wouldn't that count as an incentive?

Re:The problem with this memory.... (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152887)

In order for this professor's idea to work -- it MUST be AMAZINGLY DENSE.

Re:The problem with this memory.... (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152923)

The problem with how memory is that it gives developers no incentive to optimize code to run it faster/better/smaller other then small speed boosts. 1 TB of storage would be nice, but if it means that I have to download 300 GB for a program or a Linux distribution with the same speed of 1 MB/second it would take forever or say a 7 MB web site. We need to see an increase in Internet speeds at affordable prices first before we go overboard with physical storage.

Um... there ARE other uses for lots of storage, you know? Say, backing up in the field after spending a week shooting a couple thousand images per day with a digital camera that writes 50mb files?

Video?

Multi-track digital audio?

It isn't always about Linux distros, you know?

Good news for pirates (2, Interesting)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152953)

On the other hand, having cheap storage on this scale also means that one of the largest barriers to HD-DVD/BluRay piracy will suddenly vaporize--everyone can have more than enough storage for all those pirated movies. Of course, the bandwidth to download them will still remain the bottleneck...

Re:Good news for pirates / Yes, indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153353)

Actual bandwidth WILL NOT be a bottleneck in the near future considering fiber optics. I'm looking foward to this and so are many others like me who patrol the net seas for booty! Arrrgh!

Re:The problem with this memory.... (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152983)

Do you honestly think that's going to be a problem? Don't you think that the developers are going to care about transfers as well? How about RAM usage? You seem to be thinking that the only reason someone would optimize for size is to reduce its storage footprint. However, it's been true for a fairly long time now that storage far surpasses RAM and bandwidth capacities. Maybe if this technology can provide high performance swap space you might have some slight reason to be concerned, but these developers will have to transfer the data to you, which either means optical discs or paying for bandwidth.

Re:The problem with this memory.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153065)

There is no "disagree" moderation, and troll, flamebait and overrated are not valid substitutes

Apparently not...

Re:The problem with this memory.... (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153317)

may I silently weep ... 1MB/sec ... oh .. what a dream ... Try downloading and installing a Linux distribution with 50KB/s and you'll know what pain is. (Death, in this case, is if you're still on dial-up) Anyway, I agree with you on the principle. Too bad there aren't more progammers able to do THAT [pouet.net] .

Ah... disruptive technology... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152879)

It's always fun when a 'disruptive technology' comes along and devalues all the research in similar fields. Assuming that this is what it claims to be, I wonder where 'moving parts' storage will be in 5 years?

Cost vs. Price (3, Insightful)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152909)

It may cost 1/10th the cost to make, but I submit that we'll be charged double the current price simply because it's "new and improved." Just look at CDs vs. Tape or VHS vs. DVD.

Re:Cost vs. Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152991)

Does the cost of development enter into your 1/10th figure somewhere?

Re:Cost vs. Price (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152999)

Well, you need to pay for years worth of research on density... right?

Re:Cost vs. Price (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153013)

And also compare the price of VHS in it's heyday to the price of a DVD now.

When tech is new, it's always more expensive. That's why it costs so damn much to be on the cutting edge. But the prices curve down in decent time, as new super-expensive tech is invented and replaces it.

It's simple economics.

Re:Cost vs. Price (2, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153103)

I doubt it. CDs were a different product, and therefore a chance to extract mondo bucks from consumers. The "new and improved" argument had a little to do with it, but copyright and forced obsolescence of tapes was what actually allowed for the higher price. (i.e. Consumers had to buy the expensive new option because they had no choice otherwise, not because they were willing to pay the artificial premium for the newness.)

For this, however, there is no similar mechanism. To most consumers it will just look like a normal flash drive and work like a normal flash drive. Joe Sixpack doesn't care about the technology, and probably doesn't even know flash dives have limited write cycles (not that he'll ever approach them). Unless the new drives offer more memory or a better price, there will be no reason to buy one.

Of course, in the embedded market, this would be huge due to reduced power consumption and write cycles (which eliminates the need for wear leveling). Also, for more extreme environments (I'm looking at you, space) the fact that this memory changes physically and doesn't simply hold charge (which is rather easily changed) is also a major plus. Even with these advantages, I doubt that there will be any sort of price inflation in these markets either since these buyers know what they're doing.

Re:Cost vs. Price (1)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153281)

Interesting thoughts on this angle of the discovery. I had expected the "cost of development" and "new tech is always more expensive because it's not selling as many units," but you've gone another step. To wit, I'd not thought thoroughly about the fact that my examples weren't as "apples to apples" as I had intended.
It's interesting to think about the implications for space travel and the physical aspect of the media this offers. It'll be interesting to see if this tech plays out as well as we're imagining it.

Re:Cost vs. Price (1)

ddrueding80 (1091191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153107)

1/10th the cost per GB to make, with 100 times the capacity. Even if it were that cheap, these things won't be cheap.

Sorry to be a spoil-sport, but (4, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152941)

Conventional memories rely on moving electrons in and out of insulating wells. This works both reliably and quickly. Reliable because it's a simple electrical process. Quickly because electrons are very light.

Now building copper bridges is a whole different kind of animal. It's more akin to chemistry. Reliability is likely to be poor, as impurities and dust bollix things up. Speed and power consumption are not going to be great, as you're moving copper atoms, many thousands of times heavier than electrons.

This device may be more in the running as a disk-drive replacement than as a substitute for flash memory.

Re:Sorry to be a spoil-sport, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153139)

Reliability is likely to be poor, as impurities and dust bollix things up. Speed and power consumption are not going to be great, as you're moving copper atoms, many thousands of times heavier than electrons.

I'm not asking this cynically, but do you know what you're talking about, or are you just throwing out potential hitches you just thought of this second?

Okay, maybe I am a little cynical.

1 TB (2, Funny)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152967)

It would be great if they made it look just like a floppy. I would pull up a command prompt and format it everyday, just so I look like a smarty computer guy to all my coworkers.

And what a great excuse, "Sorry sir, I will get that report to you as soon as this thing formats. Oh, look at the time. See you in the morning."

Read/write (especially WRITE) speed? (3, Insightful)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152993)

Cheap? Cool. Large size? even better. Energy efficient? Meh, I'm not in Greenpeace, but sure. And I'm even willing to believe it's reasonably reliable.

But how come nobody's concerned aobut the the IO speed? I wouldn't be too concerned about reading, but if writing/rewriting requires real-time rebuilding of gates, wouldn't it be snail-slow?

The IO of even regular hard drives already becomes a significant factors as drives grow exponentially larger and speed stays the same as always. If this is even slower, it'd become a serious deterrent.

Re:Read/write (especially WRITE) speed? (5, Informative)

safXmal (929533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153059)

I went to the website http://www.axontc.com/ [axontc.com] . and found following description;
"Key Benefits
PMCm has a number of unique attributes that make it a highly attractive component for future systems on silicon:
Operation at low voltages ( 0.3 V)
High speed write and erase operations
( 30 ns)
Low energy to change state ( 1 pJ)
Physical scalability to tens of nm
Easy integration with IC logic circuitry
Operation as a low refresh-rate DRAM or as a true non-volatile memory with high endurance (based on the programming mode).
These features define a class of devices that are essential for projected electronics systems and which will be difficult to realize using developed versions of today's circuits. "

Hope that answers some of your questions

Energy efficiency not meh (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153157)

Energy efficiency is not at all arbitrary if it is coming out of a battery.

Speed may not be a problem (we'll see though...) (1)

adamkennedy (121032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153277)

At nano scales, physical processes are not necessarily slow...

life expectancy? (1)

Macrosoft0 (1128625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153005)

so if the proccess this uses if infinitely reversible, does that mean that the usual maximum number of writes associated with flash memory will be gone? or just increased by a huge factor?

I'd like to believe it but.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153051)

... my gut says "no". In my experience, announcements of revolutionary technology that are much more than just a few months away from commercialization are typically attempts at funding for research on a proposed project, rather than an actual announcement of an existing viable product.

Realism....redux (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153097)

Bla..bla..bla.....

Lots of cool stuff promised by lots of people (some of whom are cool).

Wake me when I can buy it.

Re:Realism....redux (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153167)

Well yeah questions not asked/answered

1. Yield, what are the production hazards, just because it's smaller than NAND flash doesn't mean it's cheaper.

2. Wear. How many re-writes can it suffer?

3. What temperatures can it run at, etc, etc, etc ...

Tom

Sucks to be famous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153099)

You want someone dead or put away for life you say? M'kay, then just slip a this little sucker loaded with a couple of TB's worth of snuff and kiddie-porn into your targets pocket and call the feds on him.

Re:Sucks to be famous (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153417)

tag the above "playingwithfire"

A politically incorrect question (2, Insightful)

saltydog56 (1135213) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153127)

The technology sounds great, and if they come through with it I am sure it will lead to many innovations. However, am I the only one who feels a little uncomfortable with research done at a state university, funded by the public, and performed by unpaid or low-paid grad students being licensed by "Arizona States business spin off, Axon Technologies"

I know that type of arrangement may be common place today but I sure would like to follow the money trail.

Diskless (1)

meeya (1152133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153145)

are diskless machines gonna make a come back?

A new age! (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153257)

A Library of Congress! In your pocket!

18 months? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153347)

Holy cow, that's fantastic. If I could carry my whole DVD collection on my iPod, I would. Not to mention, that dropping the storage cost like that would also make 4K video feasible.

-jcr

Stability? (1)

Effugas (2378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153361)

Someone mentioned that it takes an extraordinarily small amount of energy (1 pJ) to flip bits.

Will this be stable in the field? I mean, EMF should be able to elicit those kinds of potentials fairly easily.

Researchers Achieve Amazing Memory Density ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21153389)

five dozen scientific formulas per cubic millimeter of gray matter.

Ya but... (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153399)

Will they run Linux?
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