PORTLAND, Ore. -- Memory is the backbone of any computer system -- after its processor but before its input/output (I/O). Here we explore the top 10 memory technologies, starting with types of devices and ending with new memory architectures that could prove just as important as the types of devices being used.
"Memory devices are a rich area of research right now, with almost everyone moving to solid-state devices of one kind or another. Remember what Richard Feynman said: 'There's plenty of room at the bottom.' Atomic-scale memories are just around the corner," Richard Doherty, research director of The Envisioneering Group, told us. "But just as important are the new memory architectures and algorithms using multiple types of memory controlled by software-defined storage -- truly smart algorithms that only store or recall changes."
Current memory types are all getting higher density, such as multi-level flash that uses multiple bits per cell. Optical memories such as phase-change memory (PCM) are getting denser and smarter. Even plain old DRAM is going 3D to pack more bits into the same printed circuit board (PCB) footprint. But the future of memory technologies will be jam packed with new types of materials and, perhaps even more importantly, new smarter algorithms that make storage a hierarchy off-chip in a manner similar to the way that cache memory is hierarchical on-chip.
Here are our 10 best guesses at the future of memory in a slideshow format. Each image has details about the memory innovation. Please feel free to add your own two cents on the ones we have chosen or should have chosen but didn't.
Click the image below to start our slideshow.
3D chip stacking using TSVs improve densities at Micron
Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube uses up to 2,000 through silicon vias (TSVs) to stack any number of DRAM chips on top of one another. Not only does this save board space, but its ultra-high speed interfaces, on the logic chip at the bottom of the stack, also enable the memory to have the ultimate in low latency and high-speed transfers. In fact, Intel will surround its next-generation 60+ CPU Xeon Phi multiprocessor with Micron Hybrid Memory Cubes to boast 16 Gbytes per package.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EETimes