updated 5/23/2005 3:54:13 PM ET 2005-05-23T19:54:13

Chip maker Infineon Technologies AG said Monday it has formed a joint research initiative with IBM Corp. and Macronix International Co. to examine the potential of a new computer memory technology called phase-change memory, or PCM.

The research work will be conducted at IBM's TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab in San Jose, California. Between 20 and 25 workers from the three companies will be involved in the project. Macronix International is based in Hsinchu, Taiwan; and Infineon Technologies, in Munich, Germany.

PCM is a new technology in which data is stored using a special material, which changes its structure from an amorphous to a crystalline structure, instead of by using electrical charges as is usually the case.

Though it's in early stages, the technology has the potential for high speed, high density storage of data, including keeping the data active and available even if the power is interrupted or turned off.

Ideally, it could be used in dozens of applications, ranging from computer servers to consumer electronics.

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