racetrack memory


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racetrack memory

A future storage technology from IBM that moves magnetically-stored data electronically. It comprises millions of U-shaped wires perpendicularly placed on a silicon substrate with the read/write heads located at the bottom of the U. The wires are less than one micron in diameter. Approximately 100 bits of data are magnetically written onto each wire and are moved up and down the wire by applying a positive or negative pulse at one end.

The bits move at more than 300 feet per second, which is considerably faster than the spinning platters of modern-day hard disks.

From RACE to Racetrack
The potential capacity and speed of racetrack memory dwarfs the specifications of even the most advanced hard disks. If racetrack memory ever becomes a commercial product, the comparison to the first Race-named storage device will be even more staggering. In the 1960s, RCA introduced Random Access Card Equipment (RACE), a storage device that moved 4x18" magnetic cards around a raceway (see RACE).


A Single Racetrack
Positive and negative current applied to one end of the racetrack moves the magnetic domains up and down the wire (the racetrack). (Image courtesy of IBM Almaden Research Center, www.almaden.ibm.com)
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Racetrack memory project, which was initiated in IBM's Research labs six years ago, instead of making computers seek out the data it needs - as is the case in traditional computing systems - automatically moves data to where it can be used, sliding magnetic bits back and forth along nanowire 'racetracks'.
Parkin said that racetrack memory would combine the low cost of a hard drive with the reliability and speed of RAM in a single solid-state device.
In time, the chaps at IBM think they can engineer three-dimensional racetrack memory that will be even faster and cheaper.
Racetrack memory based on the controlled motion of magnetic domain walls is a promising new technology for next generation memories, because it combines the speed of DRAMs and the non-volatile properties of flash memories.