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Bellcore Announces Advancement In Computer Storage

November 6, 1990

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (AP) _ Bellcore researchers on Tuesday announced a new way of storing computer images in a crystal that they say could lead to a more effective type of computer memory.

Bellcore, the research consortium of the regional phone companies, said its findings could lead to the development of multimedia computers with holographic memories capable of storing at least 10 times more information and retrieving it up to 1,000 times faster than current models.

Holograms are three-dimensional images created with laser technology. Multimedia computers are those incorporating the audio, video and animation qualities of television.

The scientists said the advancement could lead to the introduction of computer systems capable of performing several jobs simultaneously.

″With expanded capacity, multimedia computers could become as popular as the VCR,″ researcher Eung-Gi Paek said in a statement.

Computers with conventional hard-disk memories typically assemble information line by line, forcing users to wait until all of the data is processed before a specific item can be retrieved. The Bellcore memory can do several tasks at once.

The Bellcore technique involves taking light from a laser and dividing it into two beams. Information in the form of an optical image is carried along one of the beams, while the second beam stores reference information. The two beams are then combined in a sugar-cube sized crystal to create three- dimensional holographic images.

A three-person research team successfully recovered the equivalent of a standard page of text from a miniature crystal-based storage system in about one billionth of a second.

Contemporary computers typically need about 10 milliseconds to recover documents from a computer memory.

The researchers estimate a computer system with a holographic memory could store more than 1 billion bytes of data, far more than current models. A byte is the basic unit of computer data.

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