Image: MIT Technology Review

Based on early research which has shown movies and documents being stored in DNA, the Microsoft Research division is developing a data center that will host some amount of data on DNA. According to the report by MIT Technology Review, Microsoft has formalized a goal of having an operational storage system based on DNA toward the end of this decade.

Doug Carmean, a partner architect at Microsoft Research, explains that the company aims for a “proto-commercial system in three years storing some amount of data on DNA in one of our data centers, for at least a boutique application.

Back in July 2016, Microsoft achieved a DNA storage breakthrough, revealing a 200MB DNA Storage cache. The company worked in collaboration with the University of Washington, creating the largest DNA storage cache ever recorded.

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Given that, the company has apparently moved on and is planning on making an even greater leap towards DNA storage. Carmean describes the eventual device Microsoft has in mind as the size of a large, ‘70s-era Xerox copier.

Reducing density and expenses

Following up on last July’s breakthrough, Microsoft recently bought 10 million synthetic DNA strands from Twist Bioscience. The Microsoft Research team will use the strands to encode digital data, improving storage density and reducing data storage costs.

Concerning the costs, Microsoft is apparently still working on that. According to the company, the cost of DNA storage needs to fall by a factor of 10.000 before it becomes widely adopted.

To learn more about projects by Microsoft Research, check here.

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