Over the past few years, IBM has been working on a technology they are calling RaceTrack memory. This technology could potentially offer much larger capacity than current storage technologies, and also faster speeds, but most of the details of how the process works have been known only to IBM. Recently, IBM released more information about the process to share with the technology community.
RaceTrack memory stores digital data as a magnetic pattern on components known as “nanowires”. These nanowires are so small they are 1,000 times finer than a human hair, yet they are capable of storing large amounts of data. The combination of multiple nanowires in a single device would mean vast amounts of storage, and IBM claims it could be as much as 100 times greater than current technologies. In time, they claim it could allow a single portable device to store all the movies produced in a single year.
But large storage capacity isn’t the only benefit of RaceTrack memory. It is also more energy-efficient than existing technologies, making it particularly well-suited for portable devices such as mobile phones and laptops. It is also very fast, as the data stored in the nanowires can be moved and accessed very quickly.
The data is stored along the nanowires of the device, and when needed, electrical current applied to the nanowires causes the data bits to move to where they are needed at a very fast speed, up to hundreds of miles per hour. This is how the data is able to be accessed so quickly, as it doesn’t rely on the computer or the device to seek the data, but the RaceTrack technology moves the data to where it is needed much more quickly.
IBM has not given a timeline for when they expect RaceTrack memory to be available. It is certainly an exciting technology that could change the way we think of storage and the way we use our devices, so keep an eye on this emerging technology in the future.