Data is a resource, and the world is running out. We are consuming more data than we have the capacity to store it, at least we are heading that way. With over 2.5 million GBs of data generated each day and our need for data only going to increase, a solution is needed. That’s why Microsoft’s interest in using DNA as a data storage solution is intriguing.
Microsoft has this week announced a breakthrough in its research and development around DNA storage.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concepts behind DNA storage, it could be the answer to our data storage problems. The DNA molecule is built of four chemicals, adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T). These bases connect together to create the classic ladder structure of the double helix DNA strand.
Tech researchers have found it is possible to convert the molecule into ones and zeros, which is the underpinning of digital data.
Microsoft is one of the leaders in researching and developing has reached a new milestone. In collaboration with the University of Washington Molecular Information System Laboratory (MISL), the company has published a new research paper.
It describes the first ever DNA storage writer at nanoscale. Microsoft says it can scale a DNA write density of 25 x 10^6 sequences per square centimeter. This is a three-fold improvement over previous results, and points to a potential future of achieving the minimum write speed that will be needed to store data on DNA.
“A natural next step is to embed digital logic in the chip to allow individual control of millions of electrode spots to write kilobytes per second of data in DNA, and we foresee the technology reaching arrays containing billions of electrodes capable of storing megabytes per second of data in DNA. This will bring DNA data storage performance and cost significantly closer to tape,” Microsoft tells TechRadar.
Tip of the day: It’s a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis, and the most fool-proof way is to manually create a disk image and save it to an external hard drive.