"like describing the Mafia a charitable organisation."
Perhaps you meant "like describing the Mafia AS a charitable organisation."
Treasure this fine example of scientific press release bilge: "At the human scale, the tightly wrapped spinning columns of air in a tornado contain terrifying destructive power that ravages communities. At the nanoscale, however, closely coiled magnetic vortices hold the promise of a new generation of computers." These vortices …
I can see the comedy potential for using the first letter of the base name followed by ‘its’. Base three would have been right up the Register’s street. Unfortunately, ternary (or trinary) digits appear to be called trits. This leaves us with the unflattering quatrits. After that, it most certainly should be quits.
Quaternary digits aren't really that silly and whimsical. Living organisms have persisted quite successfully in managing the equivalent of terabytes of information in their DNA, which is stored in quaternary format. Or: ATGC.
They could also be used in computing simply as multiple bits. Why would the computer need to know it bits were stored in quaternary format, so long as the data comes back whole?
The anti-science bias at the Reg is even worse than the US Republican Party.
Notice that The Reg is also a "Global Warming Skeptic". (Not to different from the anti-evolution/creationist/intelligent-design cousins)
First off, I know you're trolling Pascal - that was funny.
But Doug, come on dude! The tone of the article was due to the comparison between little magnetic thingies on tiny discs and huge fucking rip-your-house-to-pieces-and-send-them-to-Oz tornadoes, not because (for instance) Flash memory doesn't use multibit cells, because it does (oh, and <ahem> DNA too of course). Anti-science? Hardly.
Good to see the author's bullshit detector is still working because Ted's failed in the cold weather on Monday.
At 1 micron across, these discs offer roughly 1 terabit per square metre, which isn't going to change how *anybody* looks at storage.
However, if you can stack them vertically (say, 100 per millimetre) as well, you could stuff 10-100 gigabits into a 1cm square by 1mm deep flash device. That is sufficiently competitive that we'd like to know what the reading and writing times were like.
Of course, this is a lab experiment. In a few years it may be possible to reduce these things by an order of magnitude or two in linear scale (and speed them up). Then again, it may not.
Ok, so the real science is a little interesting, but it still sounds played-up.
"We stuck a plastic plate to a magnetic one and it allowed us to control the field states better."
"We now have 4 possible states per storage cell, but because it's so tiny and fiddly it'll still be 1 bit, with protection against data corruption."
"We know it's less of a 'tornado' and more of a 'donut', but the marketing guys really wanted to name the next storage line Tornado so here we are."