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Science Update: Big bytes

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS and Hitachi are to work together on developing the next generation of memory chips for computers.

The project to develop the huge 256-megabit chips, known as Dynamic Random Access Memories (DRAMs), will start with a year-long study looking at the possibilities for developing common technology for the chips. The companies claim the new chip will be capable of storing 256 million bits of information - the equivalent of 11,200 typed pages of text.

Today's computers commonly use four-megabit memory chips; the next step is to use 16- and 64- megabit DRAMs. TI and Hitachi are already working together to develop this next generation of memories, and have already begun to produce prototypes of the 64-megabit chip.