Amid the current digital technology energy crisis, researchers from Lancaster University have developed and patented a new type of computer that could potentially solve this problem.
This new form of memory holds the promise of replacing the Dynamic Random Access Memory, or DRAM, and flash drives. The next evolutionary steps of powerful but ultra-low energy consumption computing are right around the corner. Are you ready?
The Holy Grail
Researchers are excited about this development and for good reason too. The emergence of the IoT at home and in offices; creating smarter, data-centric environments will require tons of energy. Your interconnected smart appliances, speakers, and remaining home devices will need the energy to process all that “data” to offer optimal functionality.
This is actually so much a concern that energy savings from efficient lighting and appliances could actually be reversed by the increased use of computers and gadgets. By 2025, “a 'tsunami of data' is expected to consume a fifth of global electricity”.
The newly created electronic memory device could offer all of us a less power hungry daily life with its ultra-low energy consumption. How so? The memory device does not need to boot up and could instantly go into energy saving mode even between keystrokes.
As stated by Physics Professor Manus Hayne of Lancaster University, “Universal Memory, which has robustly stored data that is easily changed, is widely considered to be unfeasible, or even impossible, but this device demonstrates its contradictory properties."
"The ideal is to combine the advantages of both without their drawbacks, and this is what we have demonstrated. Our device has an intrinsic data storage time that is predicted to exceed the age of the Universe, yet it can record or delete data using 100 times less energy than DRAM."
To tackle and create this new memory device, the researchers used quantum mechanics to solve the dilemma of choosing between stable, long-term data storage and low-energy writing and erasing.
Just being awarded a patent and with several companies showing interest in the device and research, the new memory device is expected to replace the $100bn market for Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM).