Computing Revolution

French physicists discover 100,000 times faster data retrieval

A new discovery has led to a possible massive advancement in the speed of computer data retrieval—something that could revolutionize computing. The idea builds on magnetic sensor technology, which uses magnetic fields to read data on hard disks and allowed for the miniaturization of computer hard drives throughout the 1990s. French scientists have discovered that using femtosecond lasers—that fire in bursts of a millionth of a billionth of a second—data can be retrieved at a rate much faster then was previously possible. Femtosecond lasers are too big for home computing, so the increase in speed won’t reach consumers in the immediate future. But miniaturization is possible and will probably make the technology available in the next decade. For now, IBM and other corporations have already expressed great interest in the technology.

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