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storage cell[′stȯr·ij ‚sel]
a set of storage elements of a digital computer’s storage device or a segment of a storage device’s storage medium, for example, a section of the surface of a magnetic tape or a string of ferrite cores. A storage cell is used to store information, either one machine word or a portion of a machine word.
The total number of storage cells in a storage device determines the device’s storage capacity. Each storage cell is assigned an address in the form of a binary code. The address is used to locate or store required information.
A storage cell is characterized by a length, that is, by the number of binary digits, or bits, that can be stored in the cell at the same time. In first-generation digital computers, which were built in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the length of a storage cell corresponded to one machine word. In present-generation digital computers, which were built in the 1970’s, storage is used more efficiently by making the length of a storage cell equal to eight bits, or one byte. A byte may be eight binary digits or characters, two decimal digits, or two hexadecimal (base 16) digits.
Registers of digital computers, patchboards on control consoles of analog computers, and similar devices are also used as storage cells.
A. V. GUSEV