According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. With the rise of social media, digital processes, sensors, systems and every mobile interaction, it comes as little surprise that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. With no shortage of data, the next big challenge facing researchers and scientists is how best to manage the influx of information.

Storage of this magnitude led researchers to explore the human body for inspiration. Scientists and geneticists agree that the future might be in DNA. Scientists and tech companies have collaborated to simplify the process, which involves taking the original code of the data and transferring it into the language of DNA, which is composed of the letters A,C,G, and T.  Strands would have to be created and the data would be stored in test tubes until it’s needed for retrieval.The DNA would then be read by a sequencing code machine and then translated into binary.

According to an article on IEEE Spectrum, “As a storage medium, genetic material is not only durable, but also incredibly compact: A single gram of DNA can store almost a zettabyte (one trillion gigabytes) of digital data.”

The lifetime of DNA — thousands of years — make it a viable, reliable option for data storage, an exciting milestone for the future of big (and small) data.


Written by IEEE on July 19, 2016