Phase-Change Memory: The New, Revolutionary Memory Storage Technology

As technology has continued to evolve, the demand for larger, quicker, and reliable storage has increased. A recent article by Phys Org has introduced a revolutionary memory technology that will greatly change the future of storage.

IBM scientists’ new device, Phase-Change Memory (PCM), can reliably store 3 bits of data per cell. Due to its benefits in read/write speed, endurance, non-volatility and density, it has given other storage devices, such as DRAM and USB flash drives, competition when choosing storage that can keep up with the ever-changing advancements in mobile devices and the Internet.

PCM can also store data when its turned off and can handle 10 million write cycles versus a USB stick’s 3,000 write cycles – an impressive feat.

Application

PCM can be applied and integrated in multiple ways. Whether as a standalone device or a hybrid of PCM and flash storage, this device can provide exceptionally fast caching speeds. A faster cache will allow mobile devices to load in seconds, allow entire databases that are stored on PCM to have faster query processes for time-sensitive online applications, and help algorithms with large datasets reduce latency overhead when reading the data.

How it Works

PCM consists of two stable states: amorphous (without a clearly defined structure) and crystalline (with structure). Bits are programmed and stored through these states through varying electrical currents.

To express how revolutionary PCM is, Dr. Haris Pozidis, an author of the paper and the manager of non-volatile memory research at IBM Research – Zurich, commented on its performance: “Phase change memory is the first instantiation of a universal memory with properties of both DRAM and flash, thus answering one of the grand challenges of our industry. Reaching three bits per cell is a significant milestone because at this density the cost of PCM will be significantly less than DRAM and closer to flash.”

IBM scientists have cracked the code to multi-bit storage by developing two technologies: drift-immune cell-state metrics and drift-tolerant coding and detection schemes. These metrics allow PCM to have stable electrical conductivity.

IBM Fellow, Dr. Evangelos Eleftheriou, also commented on PCM’s efficiency: “Combined, these advancements address the key challenges of multi-bit PCM, including drift, variability, temperature sensitivity and endurance cycling.”

With advancements like PCM and other storage devices to come in the future, having local IT support is a necessity. Make sure you’re choosing the best IT solution for your business.

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