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In digital computers, a physical device used to store such information as data or programs on a temporary or permanent basis. Most digital computer systems have two types of memory, the main memory and one or more auxiliary storage units. In most cases, the main memory is a high-speed RAM. Auxiliary storage units include hard disks, floppy disks, and magnetic tape drives. Besides main and auxiliary memories, other forms of memory include ROM and optical storage media such as videodiscs and compact discs (seeCD-ROM).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on memory, visit Britannica.com.