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Memory as related to computer technology is what gives the computer storage and retrieval capability. It can be part of the computer’s hardware or as a removable storage device. See Week 1’s Reading Notes for additional details as to types of memory and comparisons of computer to human memory.

Key Terms/Definitions:

  • Flash memory-electronic memory, solid state storage, with no moving parts that depends on electronics.
  • SIMM-single in-line memory module is a type of computer hardware.
  • SD CARD-secure digital memory. A form of flash memory that is saved onto the solid-state material of the card. Removable cards that can provide storage/access options on devices, such as phones or cameras.
  • SAM – serial access memory, that has to be accessed sequentially, the opposite of RAM
  • RAM– random access memory, that can be accessed in any order at the memory cell level if row/column intersect are known. Common form of computer memory.
  • ROM-read-only memory, a static form of memory used as a computer starts that has five different types, but all are nonvolatile (not lost if power is removed) and unchangeable (require special operations to change)
  • Virtual memory– works to reallocate RAM as needed for multiple programs to run.
  • HDSS-holographic data storage system. 3D storage that utilizes volume beyond the surface.

Understanding computer memory is a part of an overall understanding of how the parts of an item fit into the larger object and become part of the structure of the larger entity. In the case of computer memory, it is essential in how information is stored and retrieved. While there are a myriad of types of memory for computers, from temporary, quick-access memory that is used as a form of exchange to allow for quicker running of programs and operations, there is also long-term memory or storage that provides pathways for retrieval of information at a later time. Stopping to think about how the pieces fit together and are part of a larger network, whether parts of a whole or parts of a larger system cause me to think differently about what surround my daily life. How are networks part of the world beyond just computers?

The memory and larger computer as object operate as part of a network as very few are not somehow hooked to other computers, printers, peripheral devices or larger computer systems or networks. Without Internet connectivity, a computer may operate as its own network, through its internal pieces, but it is the connectivity to the larger network that opens up the real functionality of its operation possibilities. It is limited in its network options by the speed and connectivity options. For computer memory, this means how much memory does the computer have? What does it need to operate the necessary programs/activities of the user. This is not a singular item, as each program or operation uses computer memory differently and the needs are constantly changing. How much memory is enough? Some of the articles mentioned as much as you can afford – which brings in the attendant power aspect in that not everyone can afford the most or the best and so network limitations can too depend on $$ and who you are, as much as where you are.

Want More? Try the How Stuff Works – Computer Memory Quiz

How Stuff Works > Tech > Memory Bibliography

 Bonsor, Kevin.  “How Holographic Memory Will Work” 8 November 2000.

Crawford, Stephanie. “How Secure Digital Memory Cards Work” 17 October 2011.

Saha, Sarishti. “Holographic Digital Data Storage: A Fad or Here to Stay?” 15 June 2015. Yaabot.

Tyson , Jeff. “How Virtual Memory Works” 28 August 2000.

Tyson, Jeff, and Dave Coustan. “How RAM Works” 25 August 2000.

Tyson, Jeff. “How Computer Memory Works” 23 August 2000.

Tyson, Jeff. “How Flash Memory Works” 30 August 2000.