History of computer data storage devices
Posted by Hemprasad Y. Badgujar on August 4, 2014
History of computer data storage devices
Humankind has always tried to find ways to store information. In today s modern age, people have become accustomed to technological terminology, such as CD-ROM, USB Key, and DVD. Floppy disks and cassette tapes have been forgetting except for the most nostalgic. Subsequent generations have simply forgotten about the technology that helped evolve the efficient computer storage systems we all use everyday. As time humanity continues to push the envelope of innovation to create new possibilities.
1725 Punch cards () :The oldest known form of data storage, the punch card, was created by Basile Bouchon in 1725. The punch card is a perforated paper loop used to store patterns rather than actual data. In fact, punch cards were used to store settings for various machines and had a capacity of 960 bits.
1846 Punched tape -Punched tape was first used in 1846 by inventor of the fax machine, Alexander Bain. Punch tape consists of a long strip of paper in which holes are punched to store data. Each row on the strip represents a single character, yet considerably more data can be stored by creating a fanfold. When folded, punch tape can store up to a few dozen kilobytes—much more data than punch cards.
Selectron tubes (1946)
In 1946 RCA began developing the Selectron tube—an early form of random access storage that was never produced in a commercially viable form. The original Selectron tube measured 10 inches and could store 4096 bits but was expensive to build and therefore replaced in the market by the widely available core memory.
1965 Compact cassette :The Compact Cassette was introduced by Philips in 1963 as a type of magnetic tape, although it didn’t gain popularity until the 1970s. A typical 90-minute cassette could store close to 700kB to 1MB of data per side of the tape. Compact Cassettes were used to store data in a few computers and remained popular until the late 1980s.
1966 DRAM (PDF)In 1966, Robert H. Dennard invented DRAM cells. Dynamic Random Access Memory technology (DRAM), or memory cells that contained one transistor. DRAM cells store bits of information as an electrical charge in a circuit. DRAM cells increased overall memory density.
The future of data storage
The way we store information today has certainly evolved since the 1725 advent of data storage, and the evolution is certainly for the better. Like all forms of technology, mediums of data storage will continue to change, performing better and faster while smaller in size. Think a thumb drive is about as good as it gets? Read on for a glimpse of what you may eventually be storing your files in.
Yup, it’s possible that we may one day store our precious memories in bacteria. Researchers in Hong Kong have discovered that a single gram of bacteria is capable of holding more information than a 900TB hard drive. Storing information in bacteria and other living organisms, a process called biostorage, is a growing field of interest for students at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, who are using E. coli to test the limits of data storage.
Research in 2007 by a group of Japanese researchers, reasoned that due to bacteria’s ability to constantly reproduce, a group of these organisms could hold information for thousands of years. Students in Hong Kong are building on this previous research and have discovered a way to condense data, store it by chunks in organisms and then map the DNA to easily find the information at a later time. Biocryptography, as the process is called, could mean a revolution in the storage of text, images, music and video, because not only can so much information be stored, but it’s also resistant to hacking. These researchers are testing E. coli and other types of bacteria to determine which work best for storage and access after encryption. Some bacteria are capable of surviving nuclear radiation, leading scientists to believe our information may eventually survive even the worst of disasters. While bacteria aren’t putting the hard drive industry out of business yet, that day may come.
A single Carbon Crystal, reduced one atom at a time by nanomachinery, can store up to 887,808 petabytes. Yeah, yeah, but how big is that? For comparison, 1 petabyte is equivalent to over 1billion megabytes, and eight years ago, our society recorded 2,200 petabytes of data. All of that data could fit into a single grain of sand. And suppose we use diamonds instead? One nanoscale diamond is capable of storing a lifetime of data for six billion people. What’s more, this information would exist after the end of the human race.
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