'Racetrack' memory will make your computer 100,000 times faster

Swiss researchers have developed a new type of 'Racetrack' memory that's 100,000 times faster than even the fastest of today's hard drives. It's efficient and durable, but the best news is that it could be in your computer by 2015.

This new 'Racetrack' memory is more than just a whole bunch of orders of magnitude faster than current computer memory. It also has no moving parts so it's basically indestructible, and unlike RAM, doesn't need to be continually powered on to work, making it much more energy efficient as well.

So, how does it work? Well, by storing bits of information magnetically on billions of tiny strands of nickel-iron nanowire — essentially the same way data is recorded onto a VHS tape, except a million times smaller. To access the data, an electric current pushes the bits around the nanowire like race cars, and they get read or written as they pass by. The bits themselves move around the wire at speeds of between four and five hundred miles per hour, which is how they get such ridiculously fast read/write speeds. To put that in perspective, if the bits were the size of actual race cars, they'd be traveling at nearly warp six.

The Swiss researchers are teaming up with IBM (who knows a thing or two about computers, we hear) to create a prototype, and a Racetrack memory system could be powering your computer within the next five to seven years.

EPFL, via KurzweilAI

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