Greek students made the fastest RAM in the world
The fastest RAM memory in the world was made by students of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The fastest RAM works like this:
Initially it stores light instead of electricity So in this way the Greek students solved a long-standing computer problem, also known as the “Wall of Memory”.
The researchers of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), in this way managed to accelerate at twice the speeds of the fastest electronic memories, manufactured by world-renowned companies, such as Intel and IBM!
According to what the postdoctoral researcher Christos Vagionas, a member of the five-member Wireless and Photonic Systems Research Group (ERAFOS), who created the RAM after a ten-year effort, said, in the era of cloud computing and big data, which requires rapid remote data processing, this solution is currently proposed for supercomputers.
Researchers at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki replaced electronic memory with a corresponding random access optical RAM circuit, which supports data read and write speeds of 10Gb/s (10 billion binary digits in one second).
Dr. Vayionas mentioned that it is too early to estimate this, since it usually takes at least a decade, until technologies used in supercomputers reach home computers, which every consumer may have in his office or home, so in the meantime this may have changed a lot.
Asked to comment on how the creation of such a capability “escaped” the Research and Development departments of technological giants of information technology, Dr. Vagionas pointed out that companies usually study solutions purely and exclusively electronic, based on transistors (semiconductor devices), trends and currents, in order to achieve fast processing and this has “the limitations that accompany electronic solutions”.
How the fastest RAM in the world works
The research team of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, on the contrary, focused on the light. “Optical technologies have recently begun to enter computers. Other universities have developed solutions, but they are simpler, i.e. they are not all RAM. We have developed a complete solution, essentially we have posted a one-bit RAM model, which has the ability to perform all the functions”, noted the member of the research team OF ERAFOS, in which the postdoctoral researcher Theoni Alexoudis, the PhD candidate Apostolis Tsakyridis, the assistant professor of the Department of Informatics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Nikos Pleros and the associate professor of the same Department, also participate, Amalia Miliou.
How the fastest RAM in the world made by Greek students managed to solve the problem
The creation of the fastest RAM memory in the world is the product of a long-term effort of the auth research team that began in 2009 and promises to address the problem of the ” Memory wall “.
The problem exists because the speeds of random RAM memories have been increasing for more than 30 years at a much slower rate than the corresponding processor speeds, resulting in an ever-increasing gap between processor performance and RAM memories. This is because the processor will have to “wait” to receive data from the slow memory, so it cannot process it quickly and delays the rest of the processes.
The “heart” of optical RAM consists of fast optical switches, the equivalent of electronic transistors in photonic technology, interconnected in a standard optical arrangement of two states, the “0” and the “1”, while a third optical switch controls whether the function of reading or recording in memory will be performed.
As light cannot be spatially “trapped” and, consequently, stored with the same ease as possible in electrons and electronic memories, the research team implemented a technique that utilizes two interdependent, but different wavelengths: when one wavelength dominates within the proposed device-memory, then it forces the other to remain switched off, so matching the digits 1 and 0 to the two different wavelengths achieves digital storage.
The fastest RAM in the world: The next steps
What are the next steps and within what timeframe are they expected to take place? we asked Dr. Vayionis. “Over a three-year period, we intend on the one hand to develop multiple bits of memory and show all the functionalities and on the other hand to work on the fast transfer of data to routers and network switches”, he noted, explaining that the timing of the whole effort is dictated by the duration of the research projects in which ERAFOS participates.
The relevant study was published in the prestigious journal “Optics Letters”, one of the largest scientific journals in optical technologies, published by the Optical Society of America. In addition, the international scientific journal “Optics and Photonics News magazine” published an extensive article and hosted an interview with Dr. Ch. Vagiona
The Wireless and Photonic Systems and Networks Research Group (E.A.FOS) was created in 2015, within the framework of the operation of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Innovation (KEDEK) of auth, whose main mission is to promote and develop interdisciplinarity in an open and collaborative environment of excellence.