RAM, Computer memory
Computers, although growing smaller each year, seem to be able to store an ever-growing amount of music, pictures, software, and other documents. Although mainly overlooked, this storage is due to a tiny rectangular chip called random access memory or RAM.
Before the invention of RAM, early computers used relays or delay lines to store and recover memory. However, this form of memory was very restrictive, as it could only produce memory in the order in which it was input into the computer. Meaning that in order to access file 10, files 1-9 would have to be accessed first.
Upon the invention of RMA in 1947, this restriction was lifted. Data in RAM format was stored as electrically charged spots on a metal tube. This allowed for each spot to be read in any order, permitting the access of file 10 irrespective of the accessibility of files 1-9. The first form of RAM was successfully used within a computer on June 21st, 1948.
However, as the storage requirements for RAM continued to grow, so did the need to advance from the electrically charged spots to magnetic rings. Between 1947 and the mid 1970s, magnetic core memory was developed and advanced to be used in computers. This advancement allowed for the ability to delete files, and re-write over them in order to store new material.
Today, current technologies are being developed to create non-volatile RAM. This, once it's created, would allow for the preservation of data even while the machine is powered off. Additionally, efforts to create EcoRAM, which would work in areas with low power, are in progress to expand computers to the most remote areas of the world.
The advancement of random access memory remains strong as technology and computers continue to develop and expand. RAM, although continuing to get smaller in parallel with today's computers, will continue to grow stronger in size, storage capacity, and durability for many years to come.