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Data Storage Technology

Stanford's Quantum Hologram Sets Storage Record 210

Posted by timothy
from the whiffs-of-ephemera dept.
eldavojohn writes "It's often assumed that representing data reaches a limit when you get to the point that an atom represents one bit in some form or fashion. But Stanford University researchers have used a quantum hologram model to store the characters 'S' and 'U' by encoding the data at a rate of 35 bits per electron."
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Stanford's Quantum Hologram Sets Storage Record

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  • by schizz69 (1239560) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @10:03PM (#26661681) Journal
    I bet recovering data off an atom could prove...... Difficult. :s
  • by Carnildo (712617) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @10:04PM (#26661687) Homepage Journal

    They're storing data in a small space, sure, but it's got the same problem that traditional holograms do: it takes a good deal of computation time to figure out how to encode the information you want in wave patterns.

  • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @10:42PM (#26661933)

    Maybe quantum computers will be really good at doing this.

  • Re:Neat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWman (1289510) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @11:27PM (#26662175)

    It's a logical end result of exponential growth.

    Actually, that logic is flawed. The assumption that we will continue to see exponential growth forever in anything is pretty flawed, simply because of different laws kicking in. Look at trends in computer ownership, or TVs or anything else that hits its prime and hits it big. For a good while these things do have an exponential growth curve, but obviously that growth cannot continue indefinitely, or people would have to start buying two or three TV sets at a time every couple of days, and then the next week buy 3 TV sets every day, and then every hour....

    This is the fundamental problem with extrapolation taken too far. The truth of the matter is that you have no idea what the curve looks like, regardless of how much data you have. It could be exponential growth for thousands of years, and then suddenly take a nose dive and drop back down close to where it started, or perhaps grow faster. Extrapolating too far is foolishness that happens far too often.
    I've heard the discussion of converting all matter into computational elements, but a FAR more likely growth curve for computing power is not exponential, but sigmoidal [wikipedia.org].

    Thus, I would argue that converting all matter into computational elements would be the asymptotic 'end game' of technology that we will never quite reach, but always be moving towards (though our progress will slow). Many growth patterns follow a sigmoidal curve.

  • Re:Neat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:36AM (#26662551)

    To ruin a perfectly good Hitchhiker's guide:

    Actually it's not infinitely improbable. It's actually extremely probable.

    Now obviously there is life in our universe whatever it may be. (I think therefore I am. Etc...) If life is capable of evolving into sentient, intelligent, technological life then eventually it's almost guaranteed that they'll simulate another universe. As long as each universe simulates at least ONE other universe then the probability of being in a simulation is > 50%.

    The chances that we are at the "Top Level" of the universe and that we aren't being simulated is exceedingly low. I imagine that a civilization capable of creating simulated life is capable of creating more than one simulation of simulated life and therefore had many many simulations.

  • Re:Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:04AM (#26662707)

    Ok, my logic isn't based on math, it's based on common sense.

    Go look at a a modern factory using current robotics. Do you notice that the factory could make some of the parts used in the machines in that factory? And that the robots can do basically anything that a human hand can do, given a proper setup?

    It's perfectly reasonable to extrapolate just a LITTLE bit and imagine a very large factory that can make every part used in the factory itself, from the ICs in the control circuitry to lubricants for the moving parts. Said factory already exists, it is just distributed across the world and currently depends on human labor for many things.

    Now, what ultimate needs does this factory have, if you could replace the human intelligence of the workers with really smart software? Well, it needs various metals and carbon and silicon and all sorts of other stuff that happen to be found all over our solar system, not just on earth.

    It also would need energy, which happens to be freely created and dumped into space by our star.

    So common sense is that once such a factory exists and no longer is constrained by human labor for it to grow, it could exponentially grow to swallow up all the available matter in the solar system, almost.

    Yes, the curve would be sigmoidal...somewhere around the point that it comes time to assimilate pluto or Kuiper belt objects, the rate of growth would level off. And we'd never convert EVERY last scrap of matter, it would be an asymptotic end game at that point, yes.

    But what's the difference between converting 90% of everything within a a light day of the Sun and 100% from a practical perspective? Either way, it is going to be pretty darn impressive for those humans that live to see it. (if any do)

  • Re:versus USB (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wjh31 (1372867) on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:33AM (#26664271) Homepage
    i would imagine a 2TB 3.5" drive is not 256* the volume of that, and so is bigger, however you might want to have a look at 32GB SDHC card for high density storage
  • Re:Neat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foniksonik (573572) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:20AM (#26666541) Homepage Journal

    That's why there is that nasty speed of light constraint in this universe... you can't see past the light horizon... well you can but not in the present time, you only get to see pre-computed archived data.

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