Only a few know that Hungarians played a very important role in the history of Coumputing – and in several other fields of science, too. I like to be proud of the scientific results of my nation, so I’ll dedicate this essay to them. My topic is the data storage devices of the past and the future.
Most IT experts in the world would be suprised on my statement: the small sized floppy disk was invented by a Hungarian, Marcell Jánosi. Before him, the connonly used disk was the 8 inch sized, very flexible IBM invented floppy disk. This disk was big, vulnerable to physical damage and was difficult to transport. According to computernostalgia.net, the original concept of the 31⁄4 inch floppy disk was developed by Marcell Janosi in 1973, two years before IBM invented the 5 ½ floppy disk (http://www.computernostalgia.net/articles/HistoryoftheFloppyDisk.htm, 2009). Intrestingly this was the year, when Ernő Rubik invented the world famous Rubik Cube. Unfortunately for political reasons the Hungarian state didn’t renew the patent on this invention, and that made the Japaneese manufacturers able to produce a floppy disk. They started to make a product which was, let’s say, very similar to the original version, which was introduced to them personally by Mr. Janosi in Hugary. A photo of the original disk and the drive can be seen here: http://index.hu/cikkepek/0702/tech/azelso/.gdata/a6_03.jpg Even Jack Tremiel, the CEO of the Commodore factory travelled to Hungary on his private jet to buy this product according to an interview with Mr. Janosi, published on Index.hu portal (http://index.hu/tech/hardver/jm0206/, 2007). As you can see, this disk became widely used on the world with minor changes before the mass production. It’s a thing we can be proud of, but Marcell Jánosi never earned a cent for it, because of the Communist state’s regulations.
There were several great Hungarian inventors in the past, including the first flat screen TV in 1936, by Kálmán Tihanyi (http://www.pcma-tv99.org/sales-history-of-lcd-tvs, 2007), but since my task is to write about data storage, I mention a very intresting new development. Since I’m in contact with an employee of Holografika, which is an invertor and producer of 3d holographic displays, I decided to write about the holografic data storage. Amongst other researchers, the Hungarians also working on this topics. Although we already use some topics based on very similar technology, like Blue-Ray disks, for example, there is a very intresting development made by Hungarians. On _Budapest University of Technology and Economics researchers made a working holographic storage device. In an abstract, published on SPIE Digital Library tey wrote: “_A raw density as high as 2.77 bit/µm2 has been achieved without multiplexing in a compact, portable read/write sytem at 532 nm allowing more than 1000 readout without data loss.” (http://spiedl.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=PSISDG004991000001000034000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes, 2003) I can see this affort as a promising one, since it uses the currently known fastest substance to store, read, write data. It uses all the real world dimensions, three and the fourth dimension, time to store data. In my oppinion, this is the future of data storage. Mike Houghton on enterpriseitplanet.com also thinks so: “The future of data storage will almost certainly lie in the technology of holographic storage for the enterprise market. With a predicted shelf life of up to 100 years or more, which means we can expect at least 50 years and disk-sized storage capacities of over 300 gigabytes per disk, the equivalent of 462 CDs, it’s a safe bet that this is where we’re going with our storage solution.” (http://www.enterpriseitplanet.com/storage/features/article.php/3530796 , 2005). Since science always succeeded to develop new and new technologies in the past, it seems obvious to me, that this is not the end of the evolution of the data sorage technology. But what will we see next, who will make the next step? I only know, who made the first. He was Denes Gabor, a Nobel prize winner Hungarian scientist, who invented holography itself (http://www.answers.com/topic/dennis-gabor, n.d).
Answers.com (n.d) Scientist: Dennis Gabor [Online]. Available from: http://www.answers.com/topic/dennis-gabor (Accessed: 05. October 2009)
Computernostalgia.net (2009) History of the Floppy Disk [Online]. Available from: http://www.computernostalgia.net/articles/HistoryoftheFloppyDisk.htm (Accessed: 05. October 2009)
Index.hu (2009) The first floppy drive [Online]. Available from: http://index.hu/cikkepek/0702/tech/azelso/.gdata/a6_03.jpg (Accessed: 05. October 2009)
Index.hu (2007) Jánosi Marcell, a bűvös flopi atyja [Online]. Available from: http://index.hu/tech/hardver/jm0206/ (Accessed: 05. October 2009)
Mike Houghton (2005) Holographic Backup: The Future of Enterprise Data Storage [Online] Enterpriseitplanet.com. Available from: http://www.enterpriseitplanet.com/storage/features/article.php/3530796 (Accessed: 05. October 2009)
SPIE Digital Library (2009) Polarization holographic data storage using azobenzene polyster as storage material [Online]. Available from: http://spiedl.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=PSISDG004991000001000034000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes,%202003 tvs (Accessed: 05. October 2009)
TV At It’s Finest (2007) Sales History Of LCD Tvs [Online]. Available from: http://www.pcma-tv99.org/sales-history-of-lcd-tvs (Accessed: 05. October 2009)