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Hauling yourself up by the bootstraps has never been easy. But computers do this every time they are turned on-hence the verb "to boot". Booting a computer takes valuable time, compounded by the rebooting that is inevitably necessary whenever a computer freezes.
The reason that this process takes so long is that a computer's operating system must be loaded from its hard disk into its random-access memory (RAM) every time the machine is turned on. Unlike magnetic tapes or hard disks, RAM is an electric form of memory. It is, in effect, an array of tiny capacitors which, when charged, represent a binary "1" and, when not charged, represent a binary "o". This has allowed them to be much faster than magnetic memory, in which the binary digits ("bits") are represented by magnetically polarised regions rather than electric charges. The big problem with electric memory, however, is that it is volatile-the capacitors have to be recharged frequently so that they can continue to remember a"1". When a computer is turned off, they lose all the data stored in them.
The race has been on to build nonvolatile high-speed memories that will allow computers to be turned on and off like televisions. Whichever technology wins is almost certain to be used in all new computers, so the stakes are high. Motorola, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard are all developing magnetic RAM (MRAM) which seems poised to become the nonvolatile technology of choice. Both Motorola and IBM have announced plans to bring the technology to market within 18 months, advancing their initial target date of 2004. Besides turning instantly on, computers equipped with such chips would consume less power, making the technology ideal for satellites and portable gizmos.
MRAM works by etching a grid of criss-crossing wires on a chip in two layers-with the horizontal wires being placed just below the vertical wires. At each intersection, a "magnetic tunnel junction" (MTJ) is created that serves as a switch-and thus as a repository for a single bit of memory. The MTJ is essentially a small magnet whose direction is easily flipped. Common materials for the MTJ include chromium dioxide and iron-cobalt alloys.
Earlier this year, Motorola unveiled a prototype MRAM chip that stores 256 kilobits and has a cycle time for reading and writing data of less than 50 nanoseconds (billionths of a second). That puts it in the same league as conventional dynamiC-RAM (DRAM) chips. IBM, collaborating with Germany's Infineon Technologies, has developed a one megabit (million bit) MRAM chip at its laboratories in East Fishkill, New York.
There is still a long way to go before MRAM is ready for prime time. Neither IBM nor Motorola, for instance, is expected to go into mass production until they prove that they can make 256 megabit chips-the standard memory module used today. But, as total sales of computer memory in 2000 were estimated by Semico Research Corporation to have been worth $48 billion, manufacturers have a considerable incentive to ensure that MRAM becomes a serious challenger for DRAM'S crown.
注(1)：本文选自Economist; 9/22/2001, p8, 1/3p;
1. By the word “volatile”(Line 7, Paragraph 2), the author means _________.
[A]difficult to start.
[D]easy to lose data.
2. How does the author feel about the future of MRAM?
3. When mentioning “the stakes are high”(Line 3, Paragraph 3) the author means
[A]the risks are very high
[B]the payments are very good
[C]the applications are very wide
[D]the users are very satisfied
4. Why are Motorola, IBM, and HP all developing MRAM?
[A]they are most likely to have big profits.
[B]there is a severe competition among them.
[C]turning-on computer takes too much time for their users.
[D]the working speed of the computer is so slow.
5. Which of the following is not the characteristic of the computer equipped with MRAM?
[A]instant turning-on and turning-off.
[B]less consumption of power.
[C]huge memory module
[D]lasting stored data.
poise [pCiz] vt. 使(重量)相等, 使(保持)平衡, 使悬着;作(投标枪一样的)姿势; 使(头等)保持一定姿势[位置];仔细考虑; 使作好准备;使悬而不决, 犹豫, 踌躇
DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory的缩写)动态随机存取存储器;[动态随机接达记忆器]
a run for one’s money [口] 1. 激烈的竞争2. 出了钱(或力)而得到的满足
haul [hC:l] vt. 拖, 拉, 曳;硬拖;强迫做硬拖强拉(特别用于审讯)
bootstrap [5bu:tstrAp] n. 引导程序;自举技术[设备];【动】自举,引导;[靴带式;启动程序]
boot [5bu:t] vt. n.启动，引导
reboot [ri:5bu:t] vt. n. 重新启动，重新引导
RAM=Random Access Memory 随机存取存贮器
volatile [5vClEtail] adj. (液体等)挥发(性)的, 易发散的;轻快的, 轻浮的;易变的, 短暂的; 非永久性的;易失的(电源切断后信息消失); 反复无常的
stake [steik] n. [pl.] 赌物; 赌金;[pl.]奖金[品];利害关系, 风险;(下在投机生意上的)股本[份]
gizmo n. 小发明，新玩艺儿，小物件(忘记了名字、不知道名称或不道出名称时使用的词)
grid [^rid] n. 格栅, 格子;【电】(蓄电池中的)铅板;【无】栅极
etch [etF] vt, vi. (常与on, upon连用)(用酸在金属上)蚀刻
criss-crossing n. 十字交叉形
magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) 磁隧道结
repository [rI5pRzItErI; (?@) -tC:rI] n. 贮藏室, 智囊团, 知识库, 仓库
chromium dioxide 二氧化铬
prime time n. 黄金时段，黄金时间(通常指晚间七时至11时电视观众最多的时段)
Booting a computer takes valuable time, compounded by the rebooting that is inevitably necessary whenever a computer freezes.
主体句式：Booting a computer takes time …
结构分析：本句是一个简单句。现在分词短语“booting a computer”做句子主语;“compounded”之前省去了“which is”;“by”的成分是伴随状语;“that”引导定语从句来修饰“rebooting”;“whenever”引导时间状语从句。
1.答案为D，属猜词题。这是一个在文中出现频率较高的单词。第一段指出开机和关机花费时间;第二段分析其原因，把电存储器和磁存储器进行了对比：电存储器比磁存储器快，但是它的缺点是“it is volatile”，句子“When a computer is turned off, they lose all the data stored in them.”是对这个单词做出的解释。
2. 答案为A，属情感态度题。原文对应信息是“But, as total sales of computer memory in 2000 were estimated by Semico Research Corporation to have been worth $48 billion, manufacturers have a considerable incentive to ensure that MRAM becomes a serious challenger for DRAM'S crown.”
4. 答案为A，属事实细节题。原文对应信息是“But, as total sales of computer memory in 2000 were estimated by Semico Research Corporation to have been worth $48 billion, manufacturers have a considerable incentive to ensure that MRAM becomes a serious challenger for DRAM'S crown.”
5. 答案为C，属事实细节题。从句子“Neither IBM nor Motorola, for instance, is expected to go into mass production until they prove that they can make 256 megabit chips-the standard memory module used today.”我们知道现在这些公司还不能生产出比标准模块更大的内存模块，因此选项C是不对的，其它选项在文中都可找到对应信息。