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Posts tagged "storage"

Half a Million DVDs of Data Stored in Gram of DNA

Paleontologists routinely resurrect and sequence DNA from woolly mammoths and other long-extinct species. Future paleontologists, or librarians, may do much the same to pull up Shakespeare’s sonnets, listen to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, or view photos. Researchers in the United Kingdom report today that they’ve encoded these works and others in DNA and later sequenced the genetic material to reconstruct the written, audio, and visual information.

The new work isn’t the first example of large-scale storage of digital information in DNA. Last year, researchers led by bioengineers Sriram Kosuri and George Church of Harvard Medical School reported that they stored a copy of one of Church’s books in DNA, among other things, at a density of about 700 terabits per gram, more than six orders of magnitude more dense than conventional data storage on a computer hard disk. Now, researchers led by molecular biologists Nick Goldman and Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Hinxton, U.K., report online today in Nature that they’ve improved the DNA encoding scheme to raise that storage density to a staggering 2.2 petabytes per gram, three times the previous effort.

To do so, the team first translated written words or other data into a standard binary code of 0s and 1s, and then converted this to a trinary code of 0s, 1s, and 2s—a step needed to help prevent the introduction of errors. The researchers then rewrote that data as strings of DNA’s chemical bases: As, Gs, Cs, and Ts. At the storage density achieved, a single gram of DNA would hold 2.2 million gigabits of information, or about what you can store in 468,000 DVDs. What’s more, the researchers also added an error correction scheme, encoding the information multiple times, among other tricks, to ensure that it could be read back with 100% accuracy.


Researchers in Japan have come up with a storage solution to keep your most important data with a method that seems to be drawn directly from the pages of Superman.

Everyone who has gone through the process of upgrading their computer system knows the inevitable task of transferring data involves a certain amount of acceptance that some data will forever be lost.

Saved on storage devices without drives to retrieve the files, or by the deterioration of the storage substrate, data becomes lost.

Even Ray Kurzweil mentions in The Singularity Is Near, how he resorts to paper printouts to save his most important data for the long term.

Now, Japanese storage and electronics company Hitachi has announced that it has come up with a solution that stores data on slivers of quartz glass, keeping important data safe and sound for perhaps as long as hundreds of millions of years. The company’s main research lab has developed a way to etch digital patterns into robust quartz glass with a laser at a data density that is better than compact discs, then read it using an optical microscope. The data is etched at four different layers in the glass using different focal points of the laser. (via 33rd Square | Superman’s Indestructible Data Crystals May Be Possible)