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This story is repeated in a number of places. What about flash memory would have reminded him of a camera flash?

The name “flash” was suggested by Dr. Masuoka's colleague, Mr. Shoji Ariizumi, because the erasure process of the memory contents reminded him of the flash of a camera.

https://books.google.com/books?id=abfBAAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA6&ots=gd_v3zpNPg&dq=name%20flash%20suggested%20mr%20shoji%20ariizumi&pg=PA6#v=snippet&q=%22flash%20of%20a%20camera%22&f=false

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Flash - as in 'a very short period of time' e.g. a flash in the pan \$\endgroup\$ – JIm Dearden Dec 10 '17 at 15:13
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Like a flood flash that illuminates an area, the flash memory is erased in a block. From the paper A NEW FLASH E2PROM CELL USING TRIPLE POLYSILICON TECHNOLOGY by MASUOKA et. al (1984) - emphasis by author(s):

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In very early memories, the block size was the entire chip and the erase time was quite long (something like a second). Still much, much faster than UVEPROM erasure times, and compatible with inexpensive packaging (no quartz window required).

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