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Long-term digital image archiving: DNA data storage is closer than you ever thought!

Seminar held on November 7 by Dr. Marc Antonini (I3S Laboratory) at the MSI's premises in Sophia Antipolis


07/11/2019   :   10h00
MSI (Salle des séminaires) 1361 Route des Lucioles, 06560 Valbonne, France
 Speaker: Dr. Marc Antonini (I3S Laboratory)
Publication : 07/11/2019
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Speaker: Dr. Marc Antonini, I3S Laboratory

Abstract: The "digital universe" (all digital data worldwide) is forecast to grow to over 160 zettabytes in 2025. A significant fraction of this data is "cold" or infrequently accessed. Old photographs stored by users on Facebook is one such example of cold data; Facebook recently built an entire data center dedicated to storing such cold photographs. Unfortunately, all current storage media used for cold data storage (Hard Disk Drives or tape) suffer from two fundamental problems:

  • First, the rate of improvement in storage density is at best 20% per year, which substantially lags behind the 60% rate of cold data growth.
  • Second, current storage media have a limited lifetime of five (HDD) to twenty years (tape). As data is often stored for much longer duration (50 or more years) due to legal and regulatory compliance reasons, data must be migrated to new storage devices every few years, thus, increasing the price of data ownership.

In this presentation we will introduce the use of a novel storage media, called Synthetic DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), to solve these problems. DNA is a biological media. Using DNA to store cold data is an attractive possibility because it is extremely dense, with a raw limit of 1 exabyte/mm3, and long-lasting, with observed half-life much over 500 years. We will show how it is possible to encode and store digital image onto this new storage media, using a quaternary code composed by the four nucleotides {A, T, C, G}.