News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Error Tolerant Or Streaming Storage Device", for Approval

May 6, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Brittner, Rod (Laguna Hills, CA); Benson, Ronald G. (Boulder, CO), filed on April 5, 2013, was made available online on April 24, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention pertains to the application of a storage device (such as a disk drive, or flash memory, or holographic memory, or any type of data storage) and its use in storing and retrieving user data.

"Generally, user data comprises both General Purpose (GP) data and data with special requirements, such as error tolerant or streaming (ETS) data. ETS data is either error tolerant, meaning that the data is still usable even with some errors, or streaming, meaning that each block of data follows the next in a 'file'-like format, or both. As such, streaming Audio/Visual (AV) data would serve as an example of ETS data. Streaming AV data might come in the form of an MPEG-4 encoded TV program, for example. TV programs can be error tolerant, because the viewers will generally not mind small numbers of errors. Other error tolerant data could include communications between video game consoles, where players will generally not mind occasional errors. General Purpose data might be exemplified by such general system data as that which exists in a file allocation table or a general application file, where even a single-bit error can cause serious problems, and it is not always necessary to stream data at a high rate. GP data is typically reliant on data integrity, whereas ETS data may be more reliant on time of arrival. ETS data may be different than general purpose (GP) data in its relaxed bit error rate (BER) requirement or perhaps other unique aspects. The term BER as used herein refers to a system level 'corrected' bit error rate.

"ETS data may be more file-like than GP data. As an example of ETS data is an AV data stream. An AV stream cart be a stream of HDTV signals for example, including Dolby AC-3 audio. Such AV data is an example of a data-rich, error tolerant stream of BTS data. Generally, an HDTV movie encoded with MPEG-4 AVC compression is expected to operate at a bit rate of 10-30 Mbps. The source may be prone to some errors and the target resilient to some errors as well. AV streams delivered over a network such as Data Over Cable (DOC) are specified by DOCSIS to have a BER of less than 10.sup.4 bits per second. At 10 Mbps, this results in approximately 10 seconds between errors. Disk drives and flash memory systems are designed to provide an uncorrectable error rate of less than 10.sup.-14 to 10.sup.-15. Disk drives and flash memories are over designed for AV data storage by many orders of magnitude. A target system for an MPEG-4 data stream has built in resilience to some errors. Case studies have shown good MPEG-4 video display quality even when the network decoder delivers no better than 10.sup.-6-10.sup.-7 post forward error correction (FEC) BER. ETS data allows the storage device to take advantage of certain unique features of the data to format its content at a higher density than GP data.

"It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a data storage device with increased storage density for data which is error tolerant or streaming (ETS). It is another object of the invention to provide a method to better align the resources of a data storage device to the requirements of ETS data content. It is a further object of the invention to provide a method to increase the storage density and read throughput rate of ETS data in a storage device with respect to the prior art, and to deliver a corrected BER of better than 10.sup.-9 for full quality AV data."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "A method of storing data includes receiving general purpose (GP) data and special Error Tolerant or Streaming (ETS) data, storing the GP data using a data storage method, and storing the ETS data using a different data storage method which affects the access rate, resilience to errors, data integrity, storage density, or storage capacity. The storage medium, which can include a disk drive, flash memory, or holographic memory, is utilized differently depending on the required Quality of Service in aspects including block size, storage of error correction codes, utilization of error correction codes, storage area density, physical format pattern, storage verification, or reaction to failed storage verification. For disk drives these differences include spacing between tracks; overlap between tracks; spiral track formatting; concentric track formatting, and size of blocks, and for flash memories these differences include levels per cell and number of cells.


"The invention is generally shown by way of reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

"FIG. 1 depicts a Storage Device for General Purpose (GP) and Error-Tolerant-Streaming (ETS) data;

"FIG. 2 depicts the attributes of ETS and GP data;

"FIG. 3 depicts a spiral formatted AV data track, with a concentric circle format included for comparison;

"FIG. 4 depicts larger data blocks;

"FIG. 5 depicts an example of how Vt levels are assigned to bits per cell;

"FIG. 6 depicts bits per cell (BPC) vs. levels per cell (LPC) in a flash memory device;

"FIG. 7 depicts an example pattern of how an AV stream can be formatted logically as an arrangement or stream of contiguous LBAs;

"FIG. 8 depicts spiral writing and trimming, where each staggered box represents a data track; and

"FIG. 9 depicts an ETS data stream transposed for columnated ECC data."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Brittner, Rod; Benson, Ronald G. Error Tolerant Or Streaming Storage Device. Filed April 5, 2013 and posted April 24, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, Information and Data Validation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly

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