For those of you who don’t reformat your hard drive on a regular basis, do you know how much useless data is on your computer? Left over or duplicate files from software and old personal files; the data you don’t need any more. It may not be something to think about now, especially with HDDs with terabytes of storage, but if the future is cloud, it may be worth considering now. Researchers at John Hopkins University have published a paper applying standard recycling techniques to the “byte blight,” to clean up our computers. Naturally the best course of action is to reduce the amount of waste data, by encouraging software manufacturers to be more efficient with their code. If possible, reuse data because if multiple programs use the same code, why should the code be in multiple places? Recycle the data by having the computer check if any of it may be useful to another program. Some of this data may hold historical information, so, after personal information is removed, recover the data for study. Finally, if there is no other choice, simply remove of the data.
For the end user, this most likely appears unneeded, but if massive data centers start holding your information in the cloud for you, they may need such measure to maintain performance.