IBM Demonstrates 'RaceTrack Memory'

Racetrack memory which for years now has been heralded as a possible future for the storage industry has come a step closer following a demonstration of a 3 bit device from IBM.

Racetrack memory was first patented by IBM over four years ago, it is only now that the technology been implemented into a working device. It is heralded as a replacement for both solid state storage and magnetic disk storage within 10 years, offering the speed of Solid State with the cheap cost and high capacity of spinning disk storage, the good news is that once perfected the medium should be as stable and resilient to failure as FLASH memory without the limited lifespan.

Racetrack memory animation

The Racetrack storage technique stores bits of data within tiny magnetic areas (domains) within a U-shaped piece of wire (racetrack). A magnetic field is used to write the data to these domains which are then pushed along the wire to a reading element which sequentially reads the bits as they pass by it.

The demonstration is the first to show that multiple domains can be pushed along the wire without compromising their integrity, if this were not possible racetrack memory would never prove to be a feasible method of storing large volumes of data, the successful demonstration of as little as three successfully stored bits is a huge leap forward for the technique.

The future of racetrack as a storage medium now depends on researchers getting thousands of racetracks working together to create arrays of storage.

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