A new computer design could help to save energy and improve performance speeds in computers, according to researchers at Cambridge University. Not only is this good news for computers, but it could also potentially benefit the planet at the same time.
Developed by researchers at Cambridge University, the new computer memory design is made from an insulating material known as hafnium oxide. While the material's atomic structure can make it challenging to use for memory devices, the researchers have overcome the problem by adding the chemical element barium to thin films of it. The addition of the barium allows electrons to pass through "vertical barium-rich bridges" where researchers can control their height. First author Dr Markus Hellenbrand, from Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy explains why this is so advantageous: "This allows multiple states to exist in the material, unlike conventional memory which has only two states."
This technology, known as "resistive switching technology," allows both information processing and memory to exist in the same place using a continuous range of states, unlike conventional memory devices that only use two states. Hellebrand explains: “In conventional computing, there’s memory on one side and processing on the other, and data is shuffled back between the two, which takes both energy and time.”
As a result, the new computer memory design could help us to save energy while using our electronic devices, as well as improve memory speeds. With technology becoming increasingly intertwined in our everyday lives, this is undoubtedly a huge plus.