Showing posts from February, 2013

A Million Years

If you think a million years is a long time, consider this, there is believed to be 3 zettabytes (a zettabyte is one billion trillion or 10²¹ bytes) of digital data stored in the world.  Nick Goldman and Ewan Birney, a couple of scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, claim that by encoding and storing it in DNA they could theoretically fit all the information of the world in the back of a truck.

A drawback is that the cost would be over $10,000 per megabyte.  It is also slow to read and write, taking as long as a week to upload or download a song.  However, the cost is expected to drop significantly just as the speed will increase in the next decade as the technology is developed.  One major advantage is that information stored in DNA has been known to survive for millions of years if kept in a cool, dark place, while most mass storage media today has a shelf life of less than 10 years.  Planning a million years into the future has extreme advantages for …