MIT researchers use viruses to make faster computers

Scientists have uncovered a unique trick of using biological viruses in order to make faster, less-annoying and efficient computers. Researchers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design have discovered a new manufacturing technique.

MIT researchers use viruses to make faster computers

A virus called ‘M13 bacteriophage’ can be used for manufacturing a particular component and it may unlock phase-change memory systems a type of digital storage that would speed up any computer using it.

The problems solved by these viruses come from the way memory is transferred within a computer. When a computer stores data, it pauses while the data moves from one hardware to another.

Moving data from high-speed but transient RAM to permanent storage on a hard drive can at times take a computer several milliseconds.

A primary way to achieve faster computer is to reduce these millisecond time delays, which is generally expensive and volatile. Replacing the two-part memory system with a single, catch-all type of storage known as ‘phase-change memory’ would lessen that delay to about ten nanoseconds only.

The existing manufacturing process for phase-change memory increase power consumption and reach temperatures high enough to ruin gallium antimonide – one of the base materials required for phase-change memory systems.

However, using a virus to pull the pieces of gallium antimonide together into usable ways kept the temperature much lower, as per the study published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials.

“This possibility leads the way to the elimination of the millisecond storage and transfer delays needed to progress modern computing,” said one of the researchers Desmond Loke.

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