Technology

Blueshift Memory's Chip Could Make Certain Data Operations 1000x Faster

The UK-based big data startup is hoping to lessen the bottleneck that causes computers to run slowly

15.07.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Blueshift Memory
Photo by Blueshift Memory

UK-based Blueshift Memory has designed a data chip that makes some data operations 1000 times faster, one of the latest revolutions in the big data industry. The company also claims that the code is accessible and easy to program, making the technology more accessible to the masses and applicable in a variety of data programmes.

“It would make some big data programming as straightforward as the basic data searches that computing students learn to write in high school,” claimed Peter Marosan, chief technology officer (CTO) at Blueshift Memory.

Although the chip’s designers have stressed that this revolution is merely “part of a solution” to the computer memory issues and big data concerns faced throughout the world, its initial model has already shown impressive results. According to Tech Startups, FPGA stimulations have demonstrated that the chip could potentially, for example, be used to search DNA databases to match fragments in criminal investigations or scientific research 100 times faster.

Along with other tech innovations, the memory chip has the potential to significantly improve computers’ abilities to process more data for tasks like drug discovery and development, AI design and smart city management.

“It gave me one of the fastest home computers in the world!” the CTO exclaimed. “That doesn’t make much difference for everyday tasks like sending emails. But it could speed up some scientific tests, and my kids are hoping to use it to play esports soon!”

The Blueshift team analysed and categorised thousands of algorithms used to solve complex data problems. They then designed the chip to arrange data to prepare to carry out these tasks—an approach that could be used with any type of memory cell technology.

“We use DRAM as the main memory (not Flash) and store the data in a different way inside the memory by changing the wiring in the memory module,” Peter explained to EE Times. “Current memory modules are too general; our solution is targeted at time-critical data and large data sets.”

Computers are currently struggling to keep with modern-day technology and data demands, as computer memory chips (e.g. RAM chips) are not improving as quickly as their central processing units (CPUs). As a result, when even the world’s most powerful computers perform large-scale operations, like database searches with millions of possible outcomes, a data bottleneck or tailback occurs, causing data to build up in a slow-moving queue, which means that computers can’t deliver results as quickly.

Blueshift Memory’s chip may play a role in changing that.

“Imagine if you are a taxi driver but the town where you work is always changing, people are constantly swapping houses, and the shops and services are forever disappearing and reappearing in different places,” Peter explained in a statement. “That’s similar to the way in which data is organised in existing chips. Our design is the equivalent of replacing that with a stable, structured town where you already know where everything is and can find it much more quickly. It makes everything faster, easier and more effective.”

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