Facts About Computer Memory

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Just like we all have a memory, our computer also have its own memory. Well, it’s not all the same like a human memory. A computer memory is an electronic device where the data is stored for the computer to access during its operations. The memory is categorized based on various aspects. The most basic categorization is based on if the memory is volatile or not. A volatile or dynamic memory is the one which gets erased unless it’s saved. This kind of memory is known as RAM (Random Access Memory). Data stored here requires energy and some action from the application end to be saved.  This memory is both readable and writable. The other one is stable or non-volatile. This is known as ROM (Read Only Memory). This kind of memory as the name says can only be read and do not require energy for the data to be retained once the data is saved to this memory.

Fact 1: Memory management is the most important and basic function in Computer programming.

Fact 2: A ‘Bug’ in software is the error in the computer program which leads to glitches in the result of the program. Once the code is written, there is systematic process for finding such bugs known as ‘Debugging’. Even though some bugs are common in most of the programs and may not really cause major issues apart from some technical glitches in the results, there are some cases in past where some bugs were truly critical. Here are few such incidences were the result of a bug was shockingly critical:

  • Few bugs in the code controlling the radiation therapy machine called Therac-25, lead to patient deaths. This incidence was reported in 1980’s.
  • In 1996 a European rocket called ‘Ariane 5’ was destroyed 37seconds later from the launch due to a bug in control software. One more American spacecraft Mariner I changed its path due to the same reason.
  • A bug found in the AT&T’s software control #4ESS long distance switches caused many computers to crash in 1990’s.

Fact 3: Though the computer memory and human memory have some similarities, there’s one thing in which probably a computer memory can never reach up to the level of human brain. That is security. There are many ways to hack a computer’s memory. Recently it was found that blasting the RAM with cold air will slow down the erasing of the temporary information saved in the RAM which gives the hacker time to copy this data.

Fact 4: Just like a human body get infected by a virus, the computer’s memory also gets infected by virus. The virus here is a piece of software or set of commands which takes advantage of the bugs or any other vulnerabilities and copy itself to other programs or files on the computer.

Fact 5: A ‘Worm’ is a virus which sends the information from the memory to other sources over a network connection.

Fact 6: A computer as powerful as the human brain would be able to perform about 38 thousand trillion operations per second and hold about 3,584 terabytes of memory.

Fact 7: When a dead moth in a Harvard Mark II computer in 1947 caused problem, the term ‘Bug’ was first used to define anything that troubled the function of a computer.

Fact 8: Backup of the files is usually stored in Flash memory, which is a type of permanent storage. Flash memory is found in Memory Cards, USB Flash drives and Memory Sticks.

Fact 9: Whenever an action takes place, RAM is the memory to be accessed first.

Fact 10: SRAM- Static RAM is much faster than Dynamic RAM since it uses a flip-flop circuits which doesn’t need the data saved to be refreshed as often as in the DRAM.

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