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Scientists at the Arc Centre of Excellence In Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies have published research which says that  'multi-state memory' data storage, which steps 'beyond binary' is expected to become the data storage method of the future.

Multi-state memory is an extremely promising technology for future data storage, say the researchers, with the ability to store data in more than a single bit (i.e., 0 or 1) allowing much higher storage density (amount of data stored per unit area).

This circumvents the plateauing of benefits historically offered by 'Moore's Law', where component size halved about every two years. In recent years, the long-predicted plateauing of Moore's Law has been observed.

Non-volatile, multi-state memory (NMSM) offers energy efficiency, high, nonvolatility, fast access, and low cost.

Storage density is dramatically enhanced without scaling down the dimensions of the memory cell, making memory devices more efficient and less expensive.

Multi-state memory also enables the proposed future technology neuromorphic computing, which would mirror the structure of the human brain. This radically-different, brain-inspired computing regime could potentially provide the economic impetus for adoption of a novel technology such as NMSM.

NMSMs allow analog calculation, which could be vital to intelligent, neuromorphic networks, as well as potentially helping finally unravel the working mechanism of the human brain itself.

The study paper, ‘Nonvolatile Multistates Memories for High-Density Data Storage’ reviews device architectures, working mechanisms, material innovation, challenges, and recent progress for leading NMSM candidates, including:

  • Flash memory
  • Magnetic random-access memory (MRAM)
  • Resistive random-access memory (RRAM)
  • Ferroelectric random-access memory (FeRAM)
  • Phase-change memory (PCM)

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