Big Data of the 4th Industrial Revolution,
Solved by Storage Class Memory
-Patent applications active for storage class memory-
With the 4th industrial revolution underway, technologies to process data quickly and safely are attracting attention, and it has been shown that storage class memory* technology, which combines the advantages of existing DRAM and flash memory, is being actively developed. In the spotlight recently, storage class memory has data processing speeds similar to DRAM but also has the excellent characteristic that data does not disappear even when power is interrupted, so it is known that system speed can be improved thereby to be more than 10 times faster.
* Storage Class Memory: Memory that provides the non-volatile properties of flash memory and supports random access in bytes like DRAM.
By utilizing storage class memory, it is expected that data traffic, which is rapidly increasing with the commercialization of artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things, will be able to be processed faster and more efficiently.
For reference, memory used in PCs, smartphones, etc. has been strictly divided into main memory D-RAM and sub-memory flash memory. D-RAM has fast data processing speeds, but has the disadvantage that data disappears when power supply is interrupted, whereas flash memory has the opposite characteristics of D-RAM.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the average number of applications related to storage class memory during the last five years (2014 to 2018) was 46 cases, which is four times higher than the average of 11 cases for the previous five years (2009 to 2013).
<Application trend by year>
Looking at the patent application trend by detailed technology, it is analyzed that the main uses of storage class memory technologies are, in order, as main memory (58%), auxiliary memory (19%), and, so as to improve a bottleneck due to differences in main memory and auxiliary memory processing speeds, as cache memory (17%).
<Trend of applications by detailed technology>
Looking at the patent application trend by applicant over the last 10 years, due to the characteristics of memory semiconductor technology, companies, universities, and research institutes account for the majority of applicants (99%), with the main applicants being Samsung Electronics (29%), SK Hynix (19%), and Intel (16%), followed by Micron (10%).
<Application trend by domestic and foreign applicants over the last 10 years>
Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are interested in using storage class memory as main memory based on the technological advantages they have accumulated in the existing DRAM field, while it seems that Intel in the United States is focusing on research to improve the bottleneck caused by differences in data processing speeds between main memory and auxiliary memory by using 3DXpoint* technology, a nonvolatile memory technology they jointly developed with Micron.
* 3DXPoint: In July 2015, Intel and Micron announced non-volatile memory technology that can use resistors and assign bit addresses.
<Top applicants filing trend over the last 10 years>
The Chief of the Electronic Components Examination Bureau of KIPO said, “The emergence of storage class memory may present a crisis for Korea, the world leader in DRAM and flash memory market share” and added, “In order to turn this crisis into an opportunity, it is necessary to continue analysis and research and development of technology trends related to storage class memory.”