Instant-on Computing in Sight

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When you turn on your computer, it can take a few seconds to a few minutes to physically warm up and display the home screen. Some computers even get hot during this process. That is because computers today use electrical currents to encode data. This is huge limiting factor for reliability, plus it takes an enormous amount of energy in the form of heat.  

A Cornell University team led by postdoctoral associate John Heron, has discovered a way to potentially encode data without current. The team used a room-temperature magnetoelectric memory device to apply an electric field across an insulator. This device requires low voltage without any current.  The key is that it uses magnetic switchability, in two steps, with nothing but an electric field so it has low energy consumption.  

There is still work to do to ramp up durability but this is major leap in the right direction.  Their results were published online on December 17 in Nature.  To read more about this project, see the Cornell Chronicle