Recognizing the contribution of computer memory during National DRAM Day

Micron Technology | June 2024

To commemorate the invention of DRAM — and the world it enables — Micron is helping launch National DRAM Day to celebrate DRAM’s contributions to innovation, economic growth and societal progress, while also promoting education and research in memory technology.

To mark the occasion, the governors of Idaho, New York, and Virginia have issued proclamations to officially declare June 4, 2024, as National DRAM Day. This day honors both the inventor of DRAM, Dr. Robert Dennard, who passed away earlier this year, and IBM, whose invention changed computing, the world, and the course of history.

Before DRAM was developed, random access memory (RAM) was complex and bulky, and it required significant power. In the early days of RAM, large magnetic storage systems needed room-sized equipment while storing only one megabyte of information. In 1968, Dr. Dennard realized that a logic voltage could be stored temporarily by an ordinary capacitor and that this temporary storage could be prolonged indefinitely by periodically refreshing the capacitor. This new DRAM architecture resulted in dramatically higher memory densities and was instrumental in the rapid advancement of digital computing systems. Since then, DRAM has become the foundational technology for an industry that has reshaped human society. Today, DRAM chips are the size of a human fingernail and can be found in everything from smartphones to cloud servers and data centers.  

While DRAM is as small as a fingernail, its influence is outsized. DRAM plays a pivotal role in driving innovation across sectors such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, healthcare and more. The rapid pace of technological advancements, fueled by DRAM’s performance and reliability, has bolstered economies, revolutionized industries and transformed our daily lives. 

Today, Micron continues to be at the forefront of DRAM innovation. In 2022, we released the 1β (1-beta) production node. It boasts a 16Gb per die capacity and a data rate of 8.5 Gbps (for LP5X), delivering 15% better power efficiency and upward of a 35% bit density improvement. In an early application of the node technology, the Micron LPDDR5X on the 1β node is being used in cloud to edge applications. 

Much like Dr. Dennard’s breakthrough, Micron’s technical advancements didn’t come easily. They happened because of the dedicated Micron team members who are committed to innovation and outside-the-box thinking. 

When Dr. Dennard was asked in 2009 what advice he would give young people interested in science and technology, he responded that “anybody can participate in this. There is opportunity there. These things don’t happen by themselves. It takes real people, making these breakthroughs.” 

We couldn’t agree more.

Micron is looking forward to the DRAM industry’s continued growth in the U.S. and to the types of breakthroughs that Dr. Dennard passionately spoke about. As part of this growth, Micron is gearing up to bring leading-edge memory manufacturing to the U.S. with a planned investment of up to $125 billion over the next 20-plus years in Idaho and New York.

On this inaugural National DRAM Day, not only do we recognize all of Dr. Dennard’s contributions to science and technology, but we also hope to continue his legacy and inspire future generations of inventors, scientists and engineers who will change the world.