Infinite Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by MusicTech, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. MusicTech

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 4, 2008
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    So, in one of my computer classes today, we were discussing the possibility that someday we will have computers based on light waves instead of sound waves as in AC, for nearly infinitely fast processing, literally at the speed of light, and how we are already dabbling in that with fiber optics.

    So, we then got onto the topic of why we can't do that yet- obviously we cannot yet store light.

    So now for a theoretical and hypothetical (yet plausible in the future)-
    As we know, light is not matter, it takes up no space. You can have a defined volume, yet continue to add light to it and still have the same amount of matter as you started with. So with that said, could one say that anyway to store light even a little device the size of a pinead, have the capability to store an infinite amount of light. Since light is like the mathematical "point" having no dimensions, you could theoretically put as much information in that device, and make that information, because it is light, infinitely small and continue to put on more light, and then have essentially a never ending hard drive?

    Tell me what you think and if this is indeed plausible, thanks.
     
  2. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Your supposition is oversimplified and disconnected from the reality that we find ourselves in. In measuring the amount of light you have a problem. Light does have energy and we know that there is an energy equivalent of mass so the concept of an infinite amount of light suggests infinite energy and thus infinite mass. I think we have a contraditcion on at least two levels. This is assuming that a way can be found to "store" information in photons. The have energy, it is true, but they lack a fundamental requirement of having at least two distinguishable states.

    IMHO your concept is a complete fantasy..
     
  3. MusicTech

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 4, 2008
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    light though, not the individual photons. Light has waves just like sound- much faster of course- but sound nevertheless. Just out of curiosity, what is the energy to mass coefficient. It can't be to incredibly high. Sure it may not be infinite, I admit that was quite an overstatement. Bt at least to a point of having plenty to sustain more information than the largest hard drives we can fathom today, 40 Terrabytes max for individuals PC's today I believe.
     
  4. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    E = MC^2. Dr Einstein got that back about 1905. That is, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.

    One does not use sound in computers. AC waveforms are not related to sound waves at all. And besides, computers are DC inside. AC electricity from the mains gets converted to several levels of DC by the power supply.

    Data storage using light will not actually store anything on a beam of light. Hard to read it back as it goes away at 300,000 K/hr. The storage will be using optical media, like a cube of transparent plastic with regularly arrayed die molecules that can be detectably be changed in one of two states. coincident light from laser will be the means of reading and writing the states of the molecules (several alternatives exist).

    Light has the interesting property of existing both as discreet particles - photons - and as waves. You can design experiments to detect either characteristic. But light cannot be separated from the photons that carry the light energy.

    The more you learn about things, the more interesting life becomes.
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Amen to that brother, and stranger too. I don't even want to bring up some of the bleeding edge on quantum physics, it is so strange.

    As far as optical storage goes, we already have it in the form of DVDs and CDs, they are read (and written) using lasers. At this time they're still slower than hard drives though, and this isn't likely to change.

    We might see optical computers, but by the time we reach that point we'll probably use something else altogether. Forecasting technology is always a tricky business, people and labs keep coming up with new stuff. Fortunately old tech never really goes out of style, it just finds new uses.
     
  6. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    If you apply yourself diligently to studying the physical world I'm quite sure that with your vision and immagination you will have an extraordinary career.
     
  7. MusicTech

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 4, 2008
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    Very interesting about E=MC^2, hadn't even thought of that. Pretty sad on my part actually, oh well.

    I will try to apply myself as best I can. Thanks for your suggestions and help.
     
  8. cumesoftware

    Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
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    You cannot store individual photons because they would not be photons anymore.

    Plus, trying to concentrate too many photons in one place is impossible. And it is for the same reason why you cannot photograph an individual atom. An atom being hit with too many photons would be divided. And even considering that no atoms are divided during the storage process you still have to deal with intense heat. It is not that simple.
     
  9. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Other considerations aside, infinities have their little gotchas. If you have infinite storage and a finite means of transferring information (light), then it will eventually take an infinite time to access some data. Lacking that, even a couple of years to store a file might be considered a bit much.
     
  10. Salgat

    Active Member

    Dec 23, 2006
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    It is possible to stop photons, effectively "storing them". The problem though is every time you read the data, you have to create new photons to replace the old ones used for reading data (which is why using photons can create extremely secure networks).
     
  11. arn_ml

    New Member

    Apr 14, 2008
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    THe conversion of electrical pulses into light waves has been done but yet to be done on a larger scale.The theoretical transmission bandwidth limitation will thus be scrapped.
    also the era of semicondutors will end with the evolution of quantum dots.
    with these advancements electrical signals(11 KVA) signals can be transmitted using quantum dot wires that humans cannot see wid there naked eyes.
     
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