Flipping Bits and Spinning Disks: The Physics of Computer Memory
Pictures, music, applications- everything on your computer or phone is encoded as millions or billions of individual binary digits, called bits. But how is all of this information physically stored? There is a wide array of cool digital storage technologies, and in my talk I will focus on the physics behind four of the most important for modern computers: magnetic hard drives, flash memory, and two kinds of temporary called SRAM and DRAM. Each of these uses different physics principles to store data, and each is specialized for a specific role in computer memory. Interestingly, it turns out that we've used all of these types of memory just to read and write this email!