Functionality[ edit ] Without a significant amount of memory, a computer would merely be able to perform fixed operations and immediately output the result. It would have to be reconfigured to change its behavior. This is acceptable for devices such as desk calculatorsdigital signal processorsand other specialized devices. Von Neumann machines differ in having a memory in which they store their operating instructions and data.
Functionality[ edit ] Without a significant amount of memory, a computer would merely be able 3d optical data storage perform fixed operations and immediately output the result. It would have to be reconfigured to change its behavior.
This is acceptable for devices such as desk calculatorsdigital signal processorsand other specialized devices. Von Neumann machines differ in having a memory in which they store their operating instructions and data.
Most modern computers are von Neumann machines. Data organization and representation[ edit ] A modern digital computer represents data using the binary numeral system. Text, numbers, pictures, audio, and nearly any other form of information can be converted into a string of bitsor binary digits, each of which has a value of 1 or 0.
The most common unit of storage is the byteequal to 8 bits. A piece of information can be handled by any computer or device whose storage space is large enough to accommodate the binary representation of the piece of information, or simply data. For example, the complete works of Shakespeareabout pages in print, can be stored in about five megabytes 40 million bits with one byte per character.
Data are encoded by assigning a bit pattern to each characterdigitor multimedia object. Many standards exist for encoding e. By adding bits to each encoded unit, redundancy allows the computer to both detect errors in coded data and correct them based on mathematical algorithms.
Errors generally occur in low probabilities due to random bit value flipping, or "physical bit fatigue", loss of the physical bit in storage of its ability to maintain a distinguishable value 0 or 1or due to errors in inter or intra-computer communication. A random bit flip e. A bit, or a group of malfunctioning physical bits not always the specific defective bit is known; group definition depends on specific storage device is typically automatically fenced-out, taken out of use by the device, and replaced with another functioning equivalent group in the device, where the corrected bit values are restored if possible.
The cyclic redundancy check CRC method is typically used in communications and storage for error detection. A detected error is then retried. Data compression methods allow in many cases such as a database to represent a string of bits by a shorter bit string "compress" and reconstruct the original string "decompress" when needed.
This utilizes substantially less storage tens of percents for many types of data at the cost of more computation compress and decompress when needed.
Analysis of trade-off between storage cost saving and costs of related computations and possible delays in data availability is done before deciding whether to keep certain data compressed or not. For security reasons certain types of data e.
Hierarchy of storage[ edit ] Main article: Memory hierarchy This article appears to contradict the article Memory hierarchy. Please see discussion on the linked talk page. March Learn how and when to remove this template message Various forms of storage, divided according to their distance from the central processing unit.
Technology and capacity as in common home computers around Generally, the lower a storage is in the hierarchy, the lesser its bandwidth and the greater its access latency is from the CPU. This traditional division of storage to primary, secondary, tertiary and off-line storage is also guided by cost per bit.
In contemporary usage, "memory" is usually semiconductor storage read-write random-access memorytypically DRAM dynamic RAM or other forms of fast but temporary storage.
Computer memory Primary storage also known as main memory or internal memoryoften referred to simply as memory, is the only one directly accessible to the CPU. The CPU continuously reads instructions stored there and executes them as required.
Any data actively operated on is also stored there in uniform manner. Historically, early computers used delay linesWilliams tubesor rotating magnetic drums as primary storage.
Bythose unreliable methods were mostly replaced by magnetic core memory.Using nanotechnology, researchers have developed a technique to increase the data storage capacity of a DVD from a measly GB to 1,TB.
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