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New Research Improves Computer Memory by Tying it into Knots

Our daily lives are so busy that’s it’s easy to forget something. The most primitive solution to this dilemma is to tie a piece of string around a finger and knot it. In theory, every time you see the knot, you’ll remember what it is you’ve forgotten.

Researchers at the University of Hamburg have a plan to improve your computer’s hard drive memory by tying it into similar knots. In place of iron-based magnetics, which can fail at high temperatures, or if you attempt to store too much information, the scientists are working with knots of magnetic atoms called skyrmions.

Conceptual image of a skyriom data knot. Courtesy of University of Hamburg

Skyrmions are much more stable than current generation memory technology. Information recorded in skyrmions can be moved around without affecting the structure of the knot, and can be more densely packed. A hard drive built around skyrmion technology would be capable of storing 20 times more data than today’s hard drives.

“We transferred the idea of tying a knot to memorize something to the field of storage technology so we can now store data in a two-dimensional magnetic knot,” said Ph.D. student Niklas Romming.

Skyrmions-based hard drives were first hypothesized in the 1960s, but it was only a few days ago that Hamburg researchers succeeded in creating and deleting skyrmions. While the research was successful, the process needs more work before you’ll be able to buy a skyrmion hard drives. Currently, scientists are only able to create and maintain knots at extremely cold temperatures.

The results of the study have been published in Science.

Below you’ll find a short clip that talks about the history of the hard drive.

Source: Gigaom

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