Like jelly and peanut butter, like salt and pepper, like that seemingly perfect couple you hate (or love), the two dominant kinds of computer memory genuinely complete one another.
Read-only memory (ROM) makes sure our computer systems and smartphones know how to boot up. Random access memory (RAM), lets us run applications on those computer systems.
Previously, that’s all we needed. However now, a 3rd kind of computer memory is on the scene, and it’s capable doing everything by itself, plus a bit extra.
This memory is the work of scientists from Shanghai’s Fudan University, who recently published a research paper about the new technology in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Why bother creating a new type of memory, you might ask? As each half of any couple, neither RAM nor ROM is perfect by itself.
While systems can quickly access data saved on Random Access Memory (RAM), the minute you shut your gadget down, RAM usually loses all that information.
Think about an unsaved Powerpoint document (yes, you live on the edge). The doc is there while you’re utilizing your laptop because the RAM is running MS Powerpoint. In case your laptop abruptly shuts down, though, bye bye document (unless its autosaved on the hard drive)
Data stored on ROM is permanent. The problem is your computer can’t write data to ROM as quickly.
The Chinese researchers say their new kind of computer memory isn't only the best of both worlds, but an enhancement on the pair: It allows you to decide how long you need the memory to hold data.
“People in the future could receive a disc in which the information is only effective for, say, three days, which elevates the security of the data,” lead scientist Zhang Wei told China Daily. “People can also have tailor-made flash drives with the new storage technology. The information saved inside will be regularly emptied at an appointed time.”
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This extra feature may make their new kind of computer storage a powerful competitor in the market against RAM and ROM. However, the researchers don’t comment on when that may occur. Until then, RAM and ROM will continue their reign as an inseparable couple of the computing world. And we’ll have to tolerate the inadequacies of each till something better comes along.