June 12th, 2018
The U.S. intelligence community wants to unlock more efficient ways to store the trove of data humans generate every day, and it believes our DNA holds the key.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity last month issued a broad agency announcement seeking research teams for the agencyâ€™s Molecular Information Storage program, which aims to create a system for storing vast quantities of data on sequence-controlled polymers, like human DNA.
Selected teams would have two primary tasks over the four-year initiative: build a table-top device that writes data onto polymers and another that reads the information once itâ€™s stored. Teams must also develop an operating system to index, access and search data within the network.
By the programâ€™s end, the system must be able to write one terabyte and read 10 terabytes per day, and â€œpresent a clear and commercially viable path to future deployment at the exabyte scaleâ€� within 10 years, according to IARPA.
As a comparison, one exabyte is about 4 million times larger than the storage capacity of the top iPhone X model.
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