Flurry of Floating-Body Memory Research, but Still No Products

Intel and Toshiba show off their competitors to Innovative Silicon's Z-RAM

5 min read

6 October 2008—It was seven years ago that two men from Switzerland introduced a new kind of memory. The technology—the floating-body memory cell—had the potential to produce the most dense form of memory around, as good as doubling the bits stored on a typical DRAM or quintupling the data of SRAM. The introduction came at the2001 IEEE International Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) Conference. Today floating-body memory is again on the agenda at the SOI conference, which began this week in New Paltz, N.Y. But a lot of things have changed since 2001. Those two men from Switzerland founded a memory company, Innovative Silicon, that has made multimillion-dollar licenses of their technology to processor maker Advanced Micro Devices and to DRAM giant Hynix Semiconductor. And they’ve been joined in their quest to develop floating-body memories by competing research teams at such heavyweights as Toshiba and Intel, both of which are reporting new research in New Paltz this week.

Despite the two big-name licensees—AMD in 2006 and Hynix in 2007—so far no product with Innovative Silicon’s Z-RAM technology or any other floating-body technology has yet emerged. Yet floating-body memory’s prospects are in no way dead. In fact, a number of factors suggest that it is more likely than ever to be adopted.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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