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The Quest for a Universal Memory

Smartphones and tablets demand faster and more energy efficient memory, but a one-size-fits-all technology is proving elusive

4 min read
The Quest for a Universal Memory

17 May 2012—Our smartphones and ultrathin laptops rely on a triumvirate of memory technologies—SRAM, DRAM, and flash—each customized for a specific purpose. They’ve all been fabulous workhorses, but now these memories are struggling to keep up with the steady demand for chips that are faster, cheaper, more reliable, and more energy efficient.

Industry watchers expect the most-advanced memory makers to hit a wall around 2015. So the question is, What comes next? Will we always be saddled with a complex hierarchy of different kinds of memory? Or is it possible we just might find the memory industry’s version of a cure-all—a single, universal memory format that can provide high-density storage, low-power operation, and unparalleled speed?

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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