2008-05-01, 04:28 PM
Wasn't sure where to post this, or if it has already been posted. Interesting news though.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The long-sought after memristor--the "missing link" in electronic circuit theory--has been invented by Hewlett Packard Senior Fellow R. Stanley Williams at HP Labs (Palo Alto, Calif.) Memristors--the fourth passive component type after resistors, capacitors and inductors--were postulated in a seminal 1971 paper in the IEEE Transactions on Circuit Theory by professor Leon Chua at the University of California (Berkeley), but their first realization was just announced today by HP. According to Williams and Chua, now virtually every electronics textbook will have to be revised to include the memristor and the new paradigm it represents for electronic circuit theory. (http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=207403521)
2008-05-01, 05:34 PM
Wow! The mind boggles at how smart some people are!
Could someone tell me in English what this means or identify some practical purpose?
This new circuit element solves many problems with circuitry today--since it improves in performance as you scale it down to smaller and smaller sizes," said Chua. "Memristors will enable very small nanoscale devices to be made without generating all the excess heat that scaling down transistors is causing today
I couldn't have said it better myself. :D
Does this mean future CPUs will be faster and cooler?
2008-05-02, 11:30 AM
Here's my amateur and likely not entirely correct take on it :)
This is something of an gate or switch...either allowing or not allowing electrons to pass directly through it. It one sense it's something of a passive transistor, but it's speed of operation is directly dependant on the speed of electrons passing through it. Slow electrons and the gate closes slowly...fast electrons and it closes quickly. Reverse the flow of electrons and operation of the gate reverses. A transistor is also a gate but you cannot reverse current through it and it's instantly either on or off, plus it's active - switching an "external" power source, and as a result, generates heat.
When used as a memory device, if current passes through, it's a 1...otherwise, it's a 0. The density of the memory device is dependant on the density of, in this case, the HP crossbar architecture. The more crosses, the more memristors, the more memory.
It's analog-like properties may have applications in audio...possibily even amplifiers.
From what I read, the big advantage to this is for data storage. Typical RAM only retains it's contents when powered on, power off the system, you lose the RAM contents. Flash RAM does not lose it's contents when powered off, but the speed and density isn't the best. Using memristors, they have RAM that doesn't lose it's state when power is not applied (so it will run cooler and with less power consumption) plus the density is very good, 100GB of storage in the same footprint as 16GB of flash ram. It will likely take awhile for this to get to market, but expect terabyte flash drives to become common. I can't wait!
2008-05-06, 11:56 AM
This is so huge that the only thing bigger is optical processors or quantum computing!!!!!!!
IF they can make this stuff economically, the dreams of SSDs overtaking traditional "rust" in a hard drive are upon us!!!
Yay for the march of technology!!!!!
2008-05-06, 12:05 PM
And then AI appears, and machines rebel against humans. All dark prophecies from The Matrix and Terminator will come true!
Enjoy your primitive, but friendly computers while you still can! ;)