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Researchers Combine Data Storage and Logical Operations in Digital Memory

Researchers have found a way to combine the processing and storage operations on a digital device to reduce data loss.


Technology is constantly changing with experts working on improving the devices we use on a daily basis. This most recent innovation allows logical operations on a device to take place in the same area where data is stored long-term. This new process would allow for faster operation of digital devices. But most importantly, users would no longer have to worry about data loss if the device loses power during a file transfer or other operation. 

Dangers of Unplugging a Device Too Soon

The age-old warning that you should eject your devices properly rather than immediately unplugging them has some substance to it. Removing a flash drive or suddenly disconnecting power to your desktop or laptop computer will cause files to become corrupt and data to become lost. Mobile devices, SD Cards, and hard disk drives (HDD) can easily lose information if the device is shut down before saving or writing is complete. Even if it doesn’t happen the first time, repeatedly unplugging a device without properly ejecting will cause long-term damage.

Sometimes, these events occur accidentally. The power may go out in the middle of a file transfer, or the cord may come unplugged while a mechanical HDD is still spinning its platters. In situations like that, physical damage is also a possibility rather than just logical issues. This is because many computers have both magnetic disk storage as well as main memory to read, write, and store data.

Current Storage Configuration

In computing, “logical operation” is a name for the way that information moves through electrical circuits. The input and output for this operation are either a 0 or a 1. Inside a computer, sometimes there are multiple inputs, while other times there is only one. These change depending on the type of logic operation and whether the inputs and outputs are considered to be positive or negative. 

The inner workings of a computer’s storage includes a magnetic disk drive, which is used in mechanical HDDs to track permanent information. Magnetic fields on a drive’s platters store information even if the computer is not operating. On the other hand, main memory is found in a RAM chip, which only stores data temporarily while the computer tracks programs.

The benefit to using RAM is that it makes overall functionality and operation of the computer faster. However, if the power goes out, the data on the main memory is lost. While the magnetic disk storage format has a larger capacity and is cheaper than the main memory, the logical operations cannot be conducted within it. The problem all electronics users face is that computers compartmentalize where data is computed and stored, and until now it was understood that never the twain shall meet.

Cutting Edge Combination for Computer Users

A team of scientists from ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute have been working on creating a way to build a non-volatile memory system that can perform logical operations as well as store data long-term without complications. Their innovation is known as “magnetic racetrack memory” in which pulses work to move magnetic regions up and down nanowires. These magnetic regions are oriented in the same direction with the ability to change, which would then change the binary state of 1 or 0. 

This movement eliminates the need for the traditional read and write heads on an HDD that search for proper files and writes information to the platters. Data that is stored on a magnetic racetrack still needs to be moved to the main memory (or RAM) to be processed. But, researchers are one step ahead as they allow logical operations to take place within the long-term memory element. 

An electric current reverses the polarity of magnetic regions, which forces the magnetic regions to align perpendicularly to each other. After this, a sense of rotation is developed and information is moved to create a travelling magnetic domain. When the moving regions reach areas where the perpendicular force is strong, the direction of the domain is inverted, changing between input and output. 

The Future of Data Transfer and Storage

Researchers find this new system to be applicable to the Internet of Things devices that are incorporated in most areas of our digital lives today. Due to the fact that they are always connected to the internet and other devices, this media must react immediately and needs a low energy solution, both of which magnetic racetracks can offer. The technology is still new and is only configured for certain logical operations and small computers. It will take time before it can be used in larger computing environments.

No matter what type of data storage system you may be using, there is a chance that your device will fail due to power surges, file corruption, physical damage from being dropped or simply being flooded with water. The engineers at Secure Data Recovery have a 96% success rate in recovering data from all makes and models of hard drives and other storage mediums. We invest in our R&D team, who are constantly developing new recovery methods for existing and emerging media. To save your files from a data loss disaster, call 1-800-388-1266. 

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