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Microsoft and Warner Bros. stored the 1978 original “Superman” movie on this piece of glass. (Microsoft Photo / Jonathan Banks)

Is the future of digital storage … glass?

Microsoft showed off the latest proof of concept for “Project Silica” at the company’s Ignite conference in Orlando on Monday.

Microsoft Research partnered with Warner Bros. to save the original 1978 “Superman” movie on a small piece of quartz glass. It uses femtosecond lasers (ultrafast and short lasers used in LASIK surgeries) to encode data in a multidimensional space and takes advantage of new machine learning algorithms.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella held the glass on stage during the Ignite keynote and touted its reliability, noting how it can withstand extreme temperatures and wear and tear.

“This opens up an incredibly exciting opportunity to challenge and completely re-think traditional storage system design, and to co-design the future hardware and software infrastructure for the cloud,” Microsoft says on the Project Silica homepage.

Other advantages of quartz glass over current storage systems include not requiring an air-conditioned data center and lowering total costs of creating physical archives of “cold data,” or information that needs to be saved but not accessed frequently.

Project Silica is part of the company’s larger Optics for the Cloud initiative that explores the intersection of optical technologies and cloud computing.

Check out Microsoft News for more details.

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