News Column

"Data Storage Device and Method of Operating the Same" in Patent Application Approval Process

July 8, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventors SHIN, Ju Yong (Icheon-si, KR); Kim, Kyeong Rho (Icheon-si, KR), filed on July 17, 2013, was made available online on June 26, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Various embodiments presented herein relate to a data storage device, and more particularly, to a method for improving the reliability of a data storage device.

"Computing has become ubiquitous so that computer systems can be used essentially anytime and anywhere. Because of this, the use of portable electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and notebook computers has rapidly increased. In general, such portable electronic devices use a data storage device which uses a memory device. The data storage device may be used as a main memory device or an auxiliary memory device of a portable electronic device.

"A data storage device using a memory device provides advantages at least because there is no mechanical driving part. As a result, stability and durability are excellent, information access speed is high and power consumption is low. Data storage devices having such advantages include a USB (universal serial bus) memory device, a memory card having various interfaces, and a solid state drive (SSD).

"As large capacity files such as music files and video files are reproduced in a portable electronic device, a data storage device is required to have a large storage capacity. In order to secure a large storage capacity, a data storage device includes a memory device with a large number of integrated memory cells, for example, a flash memory device may be used as a nonvolatile memory device.

"A flash memory device does not support overwrite due to a structural characteristic. That is to say, memory cells which are programmed cannot be updated with new data until the memory cells are erased. Therefore, in order to program new data to the flash memory device, an erase operation should be carried out prior to writing new data. This is referred to as an erase-before-program operation. In other words, memory cells of the flash memory device which are in the program state should be initialized to an initial state or an erase state before new data are programmed.

"However, the erase operation of the flash memory device requires an undesirably long time. For this reason, a controller for controlling the flash memory device preferably does not reprogram data to programmed memory cells. Instead, the controller of the data storage device programs data to memory cells which are recovered to an erase state.

"Due to such an operation of the controller of the data storage device, memory cells of the flash memory device store both valid data and invalid data. As the case may be, the controller of the data storage device selectively performs a merge operation to gather valid data to continuous locations and to erase invalid data."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "An operating method of a data storage device which can improve the reliability of the data storage device by managing a list of target blocks to merge is described herein.

"In one implementation, a method of operating a data storage device includes one or more nonvolatile memory devices, the method including making a victim block list, the list including information identifying blocks of the memory devices for which a merge operation is to be performed, copying valid pages of the victim blocks included in the victim block list, to a merge block, determining whether a victim block includes an erase-held valid page, the erase-held valid page being paired with a paired page which has not been copied to the merge block, selectively erasing one or more victim blocks included in the victim block list, where the one or more victim blocks are selected for erasing based on the one or more victim blocks not including an erase-held valid page, and updating the victim block list according to which victim blocks are selected for erasing.

"Another implementation is a method of operating a data storage device including one or more nonvolatile memory devices, the method including selecting victim blocks, where the selected victim blocks include target blocks for which a merge operation is to be performed, including information identifying the victim blocks in a victim block list, copying one or more valid pages of the victim blocks, to a merge block, including in the victim block list, information identifying an erase-held valid page of a first victim block in the victim block list, where the erase-held valid page is paired with a paired page which has not been copied to the merge block, erasing a second victim block, and removing the information identifying the erased second victim block from the victim block list.

"In another implementation, a data storage device includes a memory which in turn includes a plurality of blocks each including a plurality of pages. The data storage device further includes a controller configured to: generate a victim block list, the list including information identifying blocks of the memory for which a merge operation is to be performed, copy valid pages of the victim blocks included in the victim block list, to a merge block, determine whether a victim block includes an erase-held valid page, the erase-held valid page being paired with a paired page which has not been copied to the merge block, selectively erase one or more victim blocks included in the victim block list, where the one or more victim blocks are selected for erasing based on the one or more victim blocks not including an erase-held valid page, and update the victim block list according to which victim blocks are selected for erasing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"Features, aspects, and embodiments are described in conjunction with the attached drawings, in which:

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram exemplarily showing a data processing system including a data storage device in accordance with an embodiment;

"FIG. 2 is a graph exemplarily showing threshold voltage distributions of memory cells of a nonvolatile memory device in accordance with an embodiment;

"FIG. 3 is a block diagram exemplarily showing the controller of the data storage device shown in FIG. 1;

"FIG. 4 is a block diagram explaining firmware driven in the working memory device of FIG. 3;

"FIG. 5 is a flow chart exemplarily explaining an operating method of a data storage device in accordance with an embodiment;

"FIG. 6 is a diagram exemplarily showing a merge operation in accordance with an embodiment;

"FIG. 7 is a diagram exemplarily showing a victim block list which is changed when the merge operation of FIG. 6 is performed.

"FIG. 8 is a block diagram exemplarily showing a data processing system in accordance with another embodiment;

"FIG. 9 is a diagram exemplarily showing a memory card in accordance with an embodiment;

"FIG. 10 is a block diagram showing the internal configuration of the memory card shown in FIG. 9 and the connection relationship between the memory card and a host;

"FIG. 11 is a block diagram showing an SSD in accordance with an embodiment;

"FIG. 12 is a block diagram exemplarily showing the SSD controller shown in FIG. 11; and

"FIG. 13 is a block diagram exemplarily showing a computer system in which a data storage device in accordance with an embodiment is mounted."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: SHIN, Ju Yong; Kim, Kyeong Rho. Data Storage Device and Method of Operating the Same. Filed July 17, 2013 and posted June 26, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=616&p=13&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140619.PD.&OS=PD/20140619&RS=PD/20140619

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

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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