Unified Memory Device Will Make PCs Green. The new memory device will allow PCs to start instantly and save massive amounts of power when using servers. Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a device they are calling ‘double floating-gate field effect transistor’. The device combines the two existing forms of memory commonly used in all PCs today. The team is confident that the unified memory device, which is still undergoing testing, could revolutionise the way PCs and server units can be run. Here’s the science The term ‘unified’ is being used because it combines volatile and non-volatile memory, the type of memory already used in our PCs. The difference between the two is, speed of access and permanent storage. Volatile memory is more commonly known as random access memory (RAM) and its latest variation DRAM. DRAM/RAM stores data so the PC can read it and write it very quickly. For all your fast computations the DRAM/RAM will deal with it. The down side is that all this data is lost when the power is switched off. Non-volatile memory devices are used to store data for a long time. Some obvious examples are hard drives and memory cards; these devices can be switched off but still retain the data. The ‘double floating-gate field effect transistor’ developed by Dr Paul Franzon combines the speed of DRAM and long term storage. The implications for this are great, it would mean that computers will be able to boot up almost instantly. The data required to boot up the computer will now be stored in the fast memory. The other great application for this device will be for servers. At the moment companies never shut down servers because it degrades performance; this of course means power is being needlessly used which is costly for the business and the environment. With the new ‘double floating-gate field effect transistor’ servers could be shut down when not in use, and powered up easily. How does it work? The unified memory device holds data in the form of a charge (the same as non-volatile memory) it then uses a control gate to enable the held data to be got at quickly. The idea came when Dr Frazon came up with the idea to add a second floating gate to a flash memory device. He states “We realised that a second gate would allow us to transfer charges really quickly.” Here’s the link for more information.