This will revolutionize how computers store data

This will revolutionize how computers store data

Recently there's been a radical breakthrough in storing digital pictures from a computer, the pictures was stored in DNA blocks which is actually nothing new but the breakthrough was that the images were retrieved without any data loss, that is a very big deal. The reason it is a big deal is that it is estimated to digital universe is expected to hit 44 trillion gigabytes by the year 2020 which far exceeds our current storage capabilities. The whole idea of storing digital information within DNA was to make up for this lack of capacity.

The original idea of the project which was conducted by the University of Washington collaborating with Microsoft researchers was to shrink the data that was originally the size of a Walmart supercenter down to the size of a sugar cube, which this technique will achieve. DNA was already recognized as being a great way of storing data, each DNA strand in the human body for instance has all the data to make another you already installed, it has all the data on your genes as well is how a living organism like a human being works. Not only is DNA very compact but it is extremely durable. The researchers started out by converting strings of ones and zeros into the four basic blocks of DNA sequences, adenine, guanine, cystosine and thymine.

The big question all along was going to be how you go from ones and zeros back to normal alphabetic letters, but an electrical engineer had the answer, using a smart approach you can make the DNA block extremely dense that you don't get a lot of errors that way. However if you do it wrong you will get a massive number of mistakes. Once the digital data was stored it was then chopped into pieces which gave them a massive number of tiny DNA molecules, they then de-hydrated these for long-term storage.

In order to retrieve the stored data the team had to encode the equivalent of zip codes into the DNA sequences, using this retrieval method allowed them to easily find what they wanted. Once that worked they also used the equivalent of street addresses which allowed researchers to read the data and then transform it back into its original form. At this time they have only managed to encode and retrieve data from images or videos but they say it is only a matter of time before they can store and retrieve any kind of data.

DNA molecules will be unable to store information millions of times more densely than currently existing technologies. One of the biggest problem is today with digital data storage devices is that they all degrade after a few years use. When asked the research team had no hesitation in stating that DNA storage was good for centuries without any data loss at all.

The biggest problem the team faces at the moment is a common problem at the start of any new technology, the costs right now are prohibitive but as everyone knows as the technology becomes more widely used and accepted its costs drop dramatically.