Millennium Technology Prize – 2014

The Millennium Technology Prize is Finland’s tribute to innovations for a better life. The aims of the prize are to promote technological research and Finland as a high-tech Nordic welfare state.

General principles of the Millennium Technology Prize:

  • Awarded to ground  breaking technological innovations that enhance the quality of people’s lives in a sustainable manner.
  • The innovations have been applied in practice and are delivering extensive change now and in the future.
  • The innovations stimulate further cutting edge research and development in science and technology.

Secondly, as the Millennium Technology Prize is designed to encourage further cutting-edge research and development, it is not intended as a reward for lifetime achievement.

The prize is awarded every second year. Nominations for the prize can be made by academies, universities, research institutes and companies. Candidates are sought from across the world and all fields of technology (excl. military technology).

The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded by Technology Academy Finland (TAF), an independent foundation, established by Finnish industry and the Finnish state in partnership.

The prize is worth 1 million euros

Winner 2014 : Stuart Parkin

stuart parkin

Increased data storage density

Prof. Stuart Parkin received the 2014 Millennium Technology Prize in recognition of his discoveries, which have enabled a thousand-fold increase in the storage capacity of magnetic disk drives. Parkin’s innovations have led to a huge expansion of data acquisition and storage capacities, which in turn have underpinned the evolution of large data centres and cloud services, social networks, music and film distribution online.

We can now stream movies, use social media and search information on the internet because all that information is stored in magnetic disk drives in the cloud. The information is stored in disk drives, because it is a cost-efficient means of storing data thanks to the spintronic device. Parkin cites estimates that a month’s supply of disk drives could easily store all the information known since the beginning of mankind.

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Basically all this information is available in the cloud due to this little spintronic device that allows us to read it. Our contemporary online world is largely possible because of these atomically-thin magnetic structures.

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