Category Archives: Memory

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

Intel at last announces Optane memory: DDR4 that never forgets

Enlarge / A stick of Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. (credit: Intel)

Ever since Intel and Micron announced 3D XPoint memory in 2015, the world has been waiting for the companies to use it to build memory sticks.

3D XPoint blends the properties of flash storage and DRAM memory. Like flash, it’s persistent, retaining its value even when systems are powered down, and it’s dense, with about ten times the density of DRAM. Like DRAM, it supports low latency random access. Intel also claimed that its write endurance is substantially better than that of flash. This combination of features created the prospect of memory sticks that look like DIMMs and appear to the system as if they’re DDR4 RAM, but with much greater capacities, and with persistence: data written to “RAM” is retained permanently. Memory with these properties is exciting for a wide range of applications—for example, databases that no longer need to concern themselves with flushing data back to disk—and might one day provoke significant changes in the way operating systems and software are designed.

But while persistent memory was perhaps the most interesting application of 3D XPoint, the first products to hit the market were simply storage drives using “Optane” as their branding. There was a series of drives for enterprise customers, and some consumer-oriented M.2 sticks designed to be paired with a spinning disk to produce a high-speed hybrid. While 3D XPoint did offer some benefits over flash SSDs—in particular, the latency of the drives is significantly lower than that of comparable flash units, and the I/O performance is sustained even under heavy mixed read/write workloads—this wasn’t quite the revolution that we were hoping for.

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Intel Persistent Memory Event: Live Blog

It's a Live Blog! More Optane in bound, looks like Apache Pass.

Intel Persistent Memory Event: Live Blog

It's a Live Blog! More Optane in bound, looks like Apache Pass.

Researchers claim to have transferred a memory between two sea slugs

Enlarge / An Aplysia, also known as a sea hare. (credit: Jerry Kirkhart)

How does a brain hold on to a memory? There’s evidence for a number of processes, from potentially transient changes in gene expression, through long-term changes in DNA packaging, and up to alterations of the connections among cells. Complicating matters further, none of these processes is mutually exclusive, so all of them might be involved in one context or another.

That complexity makes one of this week’s headline stories—”Memory Transferred between Snails,” to use one example—a bit surprising. If it were that easy, doesn’t it imply memories have to be relatively simple?

The researchers behind the headlines did something impressive, but it certainly wasn’t transferring a memory as we typically think of it. As we’ll explain here, the work tells us something about one element of memory, but it probably won’t end the debate about which processes let us recall familiar faces and places.

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Packets over LAN are all it takes to trigger serious Rowhammer bit flips

Enlarge / Researchers used a 10Gbps network card like this one in a Rowhammer attack that needed only packets sent over a LAN to work. (credit: Mellanox)

For the first time, researchers have exploited the Rowhammer memory-chip weakness using nothing more than network packets sent over a local area network. The advance is likely to further lower the bar for triggering bit flips that change critical pieces of data stored on vulnerable computers and servers.

Until now, Rowhammer exploits had to execute code on targeted machines. That hurdle required attackers to either sneak the unprivileged code onto the machines or lure end users to a website that hosted malicious JavaScript. In a paper published Wednesday, researchers at the Vrije Universitat Amsterdam and the University of Cyprus showed that standard packets sent over networks used by many cloud services, universities, and others were sufficient. The secret to the new technique: increasingly fast network speeds that allow hackers to send specially designed packets in rapid succession.

“Thus far, Rowhammer has been commonly perceived as a dangerous hardware bug that allows attackers capable of executing code on a machine to escalate their privileges,” the researchers wrote. “In this paper, we have shown that Rowhammer is much more dangerous and also allows for remote attacks in practical settings. We show that even at relatively modest network speeds of 10Gbps, it is possible to flip bits in a victim machine from across the network.”

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A Memory Champion’s Best Mental Trick for Remembering Where You Put Your Keys

If you’re tired of misplacing your keys around the house, this explosive memory trick will help you remember. All you need is a little imagination.

In this video from the Business Insider YouTube channel, Ron White, world record holder and two-time National Memory Champion, shares his trick for keeping his keys from getting lost. White suggests we misplace keys and other everyday objects because we go on mental autopilot, especially after a long day. To combat that, you need to find a way to focus on the moment you set something down.

For keys, White recommends you imagine they’re a small bomb that goes off wherever you toss them. For example, if you stick them on the counter, imagine a chunk of the counter top getting blasted out and your cabinets catching fire. This makes your brain focus on the moment of placement and associates a visual memory with a distinct physical location. After all, you can’t imagine how your coffee table might blow up if your brain doesn’t take a moment to study the environment first. Now when you need your keys, you’ll go “Oh yeah, I blew up the nightstand a few hours ago.”…

A national memory champion explains how to never misplace your keys ever again | YouTube

Think you’re an ethical person? You may just have a selective memory

(credit: vozach1234)

Proud and happy moments in our lives become cherished memories, kept in relatively crisp condition in our noggins for the occasional uplifting retrieval. But memories of not so pleasant events, such as a moment of weakness when we cheated on a math test or snuck a candy bar from a store, may get roughed up in our brains, perhaps to the point where we can’t clearly recall them anymore, according to a new study.

Collecting data from a series of nine experiments involving 2,109 participants, researchers suggest that our brains actively blur and junk memories of our own misdeeds to help avoid dissonance between our actions and moral values. This mental hazing, the researchers hypothesize in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps us maintain a positive moral self-image and sidestep distress.

“Because morality is such a fundamental part of human existence, people have a strong incentive to view themselves and be viewed by others as moral individuals,” the authors write. But with lying, cheating, and stealing being common occurrences, the use of unethical amnesia “can explain why ordinary, good people repeatedly engage in unethical behavior and also how they distance themselves from such behavior over time.”

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