DNA as Information Storage

A New Approach to Information Storage | August 2013 | Communications of the ACM:

In Church’s case, a team of researchers used sequencing technology to format his 54,000-word book (with words, images, and a JavaScript program, it came down to 5.27 megabits, or 658.75 bytes) at a density of 5.5 petabytes per cubic millimeter. While the physical volume of 70 billion physical copies of his book would fill nearly 3,500 New York City Public Libraries (including all branches), and a digital version would require somewhere in the neighborhood of 46 storage devices with 1TB drives, all those copies of Church’s book fit on a piece of DNA no larger than a speck of dust. What’s more, the copies will last hundreds of thousands of years—perhaps even a million years—and do not require any special handling or temperature conditions.

[snip -ed]

For perspective, all the data humans produce in a year could fit into about four grams of DNA. “There is an opportunity to create storage systems that are a million to a billion times more compact than existing technology and provide a level of longevity that is unheard of today,” Church points out.

[Crazy awesome. Don’t tell the NSA…]

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