memory : a device (as a chip) or a component of a device in which information especially for a computer can be inserted and stored and from which it may be extracted when wanted — Webster See also OneLook
Memory refers to the computer hardware devices used to store information for immediate use in a computer; it is synonymous with the term “primary storage”. Computer memory operates at a high speed, for example random-access memory (RAM), as a distinction from storage that provides slow-to-access program and data storage but offers higher capacities. If needed, contents of the computer memory can be transferred to secondary storage, through a memory management technique called “virtual memory”. An archaic synonym for memory is store.
The term “memory”, meaning “primary storage” or “main memory”, is often associated with addressable semiconductor memory, i.e. integrated circuits consisting of silicon-based transistors, used for example as primary storage but also other purposes in computers and other digital electronic devices. There are two main kinds of semiconductor memory, volatile and non-volatile. Examples of non-volatile memory are flash memory (used as secondary memory) and ROM, PROM, EPROM and EEPROM memory (used for storing firmware such as BIOS). Examples of volatile memory are primary storage, which is typically dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), and fast CPU cache memory, which is typically static random-access memory (SRAM) that is fast but energy-consuming, offering lower memory areal density than DRAM.
Most semiconductor memory is organized into memory cells or bistable flip-flops, each storing one bit (0 or 1). Flash memory organization includes both one bit per memory cell and multiple bits per cell (called MLC, Multiple Level Cell). The memory cells are grouped into words of fixed word length, for example 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 or 128 bit. Each word can be accessed by a binary address of N bit, making it possible to store 2 raised by N words in the memory. This implies that processor registers normally are not considered as memory, since they only store one word and do not include an addressing mechanism.
Typical secondary storage devices are hard disk drives and solid-state drives. — Wikipedia
Communications of the ACM: Data / Storage And Retrieval The latest news, opinion and research in data / storage and retrieval, from Communications online.
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