OmniDimensional Systems plans to create a 2 Gigabyte solid state memory by integrating thin film transistors and diodes onto a substrate that is formed from the flexible foil used to store information optically on CD-ROM. The intent is to substitute thin film electronics for the slow and unreliable mechanical parts used in optical drives, enabling subsystems that promise virtually instantaneous access to very large databases.
The company is combining the solid state memory with a special encoding technique that it says can pack three times the normal amount of information into a given space. The company uses the basic data encoding and compression scheme, called autosophy, in its data communications products.
What they've done is marry two mature technologies to fill a need for cheap, large associative memories. Autosophy can do the same thing for rewritable optical memories, by using a secondary grid.
CD-ROM and similar rewritable optical media modify the surface of a thin sheet of foil with various aberrations, which are normally sensed by a photodiode's picking up light from a laser diode on the read head. In the OmniDimensional approach, the read head is replaced with an array of integrated thin film transistors and diodes of the kind used in active matrix liquid crystal displays (LCD). Autosophy encodings simplify the reading electronics by ensuring that only one output row activates at a time.
The company believes the associative operation of the memory will enable autosophy theory to expand from the RAM based telecommunications code it is today to become a mainstream solid state memory technology.
Autosophy theory enables graphical data to be compressed but requires the use of associative memories to do real time lookups of dictionary entries. The process is simpler for serial telecommunications, because the bit stream is artificially divided into 8 bit characters (plus start and stop bits), which can be kept in a dynamically maintained library in RAM.
For instance, autosophy as used in telecommunications only transmits a full set of information once. The second time, only the address of the information is transmitted. But with graphical data which is two dimensional and not neatly divided into characters, autosophy needs associative memories to perform real time lookup in a dictionary of pieces of the image.
As in telecommunications, the first time an image is sent there is no savings, but the second time only the addresses of the tiles from which it is made need be sent. With premade associative ROM's installed in TVs, perfect error corrected digital HDTV sized images could be sent over ordinary TV channels.
Autosophy permits you to build enormous systems. The larger the memory, the larger the compression with autosophy, even though every item can still be retrieved in nanoseconds. You can play it forward or backward, skip around or just let the memory act like a normal RAM.
The normal RAM mode divides the 64 inputs and outputs from the associative ROM into address and data lines. Then the 32 bit address can be input and 32 bit data retrieved from the ROM merely by ignoring the input data lines and the output address lines. Because of the associative operation, data can be entered, and the memory will retrieve its address.
The autosophy algorithm also enables the memory technology to map automatically around defects in the foil, just as it error corrects in telecommunications systems. The first level of the dictionary comprises the letters of the alphabet, but has expanded the entries in the dictionaries beyond serial data to parallel data with live video.
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