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January 12, 2012 12:35 PM   Subscribe

"Researchers at I.B.M. have stored and retrieved digital 1s and 0s from an array of just 12 atoms, pushing the boundaries of the magnetic storage of information to the edge of what is possible." [NYT]
posted by BobbyVan (27 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
*taps foot impatiently* Where's my 250 exabyte hard drive, IBM? Get on it already.
posted by kmz at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2012


And then there's this: The IBM 305 RAMAC 5MB. (1956)
posted by Fizz at 12:41 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


temperature near absolute zero

Saw that coming a mile away, but the part about only needing 150 atoms for room temperature is a lot more exciting.
posted by poe at 12:45 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


*taps foot impatiently* Where's my 250 exabyte hard drive, IBM? Get on it already.

IBM doesn't make hard drives anymore. Take it up with Western Digital, which bought Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which (basically) bought IBM's hard drive division. Combined with Seagate's recent purchase of Samsung's hard drive division, there aren't a lot of players in the magnetic hard drive market anymore.
posted by jedicus at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2012


How many atoms does it take currently?
posted by ofthestrait at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the end of the article:

“The nation that discovers the next logic switch will lead the nanoelectronics era and reap the economic rewards associated with it,” said Ian Steff, vice president for global policy and technology partnerships for the Semiconductor Industry Association.

That's just silly outdated thinking. Should read "the nation and/or transnational conglomerate that best exploits the next logic switch will blahblahblah..."

Does anyone realistically think that this sort of breakthrough technology won't be stolen or reverse-engineered within a few years or even months of being developed in today's globalized marketplace?
posted by Wretch729 at 12:50 PM on January 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Check out the 1TB swiss army knife. Mind boggling.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2012


Oh, fuck...I think I just inhaled my iTunes.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:56 PM on January 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Check out the 1TB swiss army knife. Mind boggling.

That would be a lot more useful if you could fly with it.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:56 PM on January 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


How many atoms does it take currently?

From the article: Until now, the most advanced magnetic storage systems have needed about one million atoms to store a digital 1 or 0.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:56 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That would be a lot more useful if you could fly with it.

It is detachable, and comes with 2 knife bodies. One is TSA approved. It costs 3k, would be a shame if it got confiscated and tossed into a box.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:00 PM on January 12, 2012


And then there's this: The IBM 305 RAMAC 5MB. (1956)

Try lugging that flash drive on your keyring!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:08 PM on January 12, 2012


Until now, the most advanced magnetic storage systems have needed about one million atoms to store a digital 1 or 0.

How long until our brains are obsolete?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:09 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mine already is.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:12 PM on January 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


How long until our brains are obsolete?

Hold on, I have the answer somewhere on my phone..
posted by ofthestrait at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


The idea of using this to store qbits is the more interesting part.
posted by empath at 1:20 PM on January 12, 2012


That would be a lot more useful if you could fly with it.

You mean planes would be a lot more useful if you could bring your tools on them.

And they are. I call them "trains".
posted by DU at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


ofthestrait: "How long until our brains are obsolete?

Hold on, I have the answer somewhere on my phone..
"

When I was a kid, I had a dream of interfacing mentally w/computers. I remember pretending to pull out a keyboard from my skull and querying some database of knowledge. I think I got the idea from Robotech or something (with their jet/brain interface or whatever).

Years later I read Techgnosis by Erik Davis, and it sort of hits on this idea. I've seen news articles (probably linked from mefi over the years) that reference ideas like "Is Google Making us Dumb?"

And Erik Davis sort of makes that case with regard to externalization of memory. Between ancient memory tech like Ars Memoria where great bards and orators could recite lengthy passages by setting up virtual reality spaces hyperlinking objects to compressed data/information and uncompressing these objects when they recall their stories... And the technology of writing itself (and of course, eventually the printing press) which then externalizes memory...

What is this technology but externalization of memory?

It's like Terence McKenna said about the "Exteriorization of the soul":
...technology is the real skin of our species. Humanity, correctly seen in the context of the last five hundred years, is an extruder of technological material. We take in matter that has a low degree of organization; we put it through mental filters, and we extrude jewelry, gospels, space shuttles. This is what we do. We are like coral animals embedded in a technological reef of extruded psychic objects.
I'm still waiting for my thought-transcription-glasses, though.
posted by symbioid at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


How long until our brains are obsolete?

Luckily, there's some software running on there that's proven tricky to reverse-engineer.
posted by IjonTichy at 1:55 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How long until our brains are obsolete?

Luckily, there's some software running on there that's proven tricky to reverse-engineer.


Luckily?!? Damn proprietary systems and their vendor lock-in!
posted by -harlequin- at 2:06 PM on January 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Luckily, there's some software running on there that's proven tricky to reverse-engineer

That won't prevent some company from patenting it, or the genes which produce it.

Do you have a license for yourself? When your parents conceived you, it wasn't just an act of love, it was an act of PIRACY!
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:12 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


How long until our brains are obsolete?

Three.
posted by not_on_display at 2:13 PM on January 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


it wasn't just an act of love, it was an act of PIRACY!

IN A WORLD....
where everyone was a pirate / where love was illegal / where your identity belonged to someone else

ONE MAN...
defied the system / demanded freedom / had a forbidden love

UNTIL...

etc.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:25 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many atoms does it take currently?

Possibly less than you'd think. At technology review they say (without explanation) that the 12 atom version is "would be about 100 times denser than anything that can be built today." So that suggests 1200 atoms in the current technology, and they could make 150 individually-placed atoms work at room temperature - let's say about 8-10x current technology. And this is with an entirely experimental, non-scalable production process

It's actually quite astonishing how close Moore's law is to hitting a brick wall. Intel is at 22nm today and there's basically no one who believes current technology can get much below 10nm. If someone can pull a spintronic/dna/quantum/memristor-cpu rabbit out of a hat by say, 2017, they'll be treated like Moses
posted by crayz at 2:27 PM on January 12, 2012


Quantum computing is impossible. It says so right there in the first paragraph. This is "the edge of what is possible", everyone go home.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:47 PM on January 12, 2012


"Readers, imagine for a minute that powerful quantum calculator capable of multiplying the amount processing power of modern computer by infinite.

Isn't it obvious that the worst possible thing is the absence from the White House of a robot capable of governing the United States so it can avoid a war that can end the life of our species?

I'm sure that 90 percent of Americans, especially the hispanics, the blacks and the increasing number of the impoverished middle class would vote or this robot.
" (Castro, 2012)
posted by fuq at 10:28 PM on January 12, 2012


a scanning tunneling microscope, which looks like a giant washing machine festooned with aluminum foil

Ah, so that's how it works.
posted by compartment at 8:26 AM on January 13, 2012


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