Time for Wolf Time

by wjw on December 3, 2021

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Friend of the blog Marc Sobel wrote to say that “someone’s been reading Wolf Time.”

That “someone” seems to be working at Microsoft, which has now made a breakthrough on using human DNA to store data, which was a significant element in my novelette.

Microsoft, one of the pioneers of DNA storage, is making some headway, working with the University of Washington’s Molecular Information Systems Laboratory, or MISL. The company announced in a new research paper the first nanoscale DNA storage writer, which the research group expects to scale for a DNA write density of 25 x 10^6 sequences per square centimeter, or “three orders of magnitude” (1,000x) more tightly than before. What makes this particularly significant is that it’s the first indication of achieving the minimum write speeds required for DNA storage.

Microsoft is one of the biggest players in cloud storage and is looking at DNA data storage to gain an advantage over the competition by using its unparalleled density, sustainability, and shelf life. DNA is said to have a density capable of storing one exabyte, or 1 billion gigabytes, per square inch—an amount many magnitudes larger than what our current best storage method, Linear Type-Open (LTO) magnetic tape, can provide.

So far, so awesome.

If you’d care to read the story that anticipated these developments, you can find “Wolf Time” as a standalone ebook in the usual places, or as part of the Bullet Points collection, where it is housed with stories by David Drake, HG Wells, Tony Ballantyne, and others.

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