Hard drives may become CPUs

tornadoUniversity of Sheffield scientists believe that hard drives used for storage on computers could act as CPUs as well.

Dr Tom Hayward, from the university’s Faculty of Engineering, said: “Magnetic materials are useful for data storage because they can retain information without consuming energy.  A computer built around a CPU made of magnetic materials should be much more power efficient than existing technologies, as it should be able to function with minimal energy consumption.”

How can it be done?

The team said it is possible to create logic gates from magnetic materials.  “In wires of magnetic material, magnetism can form into swirling ‘tornadoes’, known as magnetic vortex domain walls,” said Dr Hayward.

The team used vortices where the magnetism turns clockwise to represent 0 and anticlockwise vortices to represent 1.

While the work so far has focused on simulations, the team is now ready to build experimental prototypes of logic gates and see whether they can be made smaller and run faster.