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Game Changer July 7, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Science.
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Scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated that phase-change memory (PCM) can reliably store multiple data bits per cell over extended periods of time.  PCM can write and fetch data up to 100 times faster than current flash memory and not lose data when power is turned off. PCM is more durable than flash memory and can manage about 10 million write cycles (vs 30,000 cycles at best).

The upshot of this is that larger, durable (probably eventually cheaper) non-volatile memory is coming in the next five to ten years, and it may be a game changer, although not as anticipated.  Sure, it will make ordinary applications work faster and more robustly, but it will enable new fundamental programming strategies…because it stores up to four bits per cell instead of two.  This storage is something like the functioning of neurons in a brain, and I predict it will lead to better modeling of intelligence in the future.

I, for one, welcome our PCM-based overlords.

From “Drift-tolerant Multilevel Phase-Change Memory” by N. Papandreou, H. Pozidis, T. Mittelholzer, G.F. Close, M. Breitwisch, C. Lam and E. Eleftheriou, presented at the 3rd IEEE International Memory Workshop.

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