Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

HP's "Memristor" Could Replace Transistors

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments

HP's discovery could lead to AI that can see and understand speech.

The New York Times reports that a team of Hewlett-Packard scientists have designed an electrical resistor with memory properties called "memristor." The technology is simpler than existing transistors, and do not require a constant electrical current to retain information. Originally revealed in the science journal Nature Wednesday, the team believes that its new memory technology will lead to powerful yet extremely small computers that imitate biological functions.

The article covers different applications of memristor including to possibility of creating dense memory chips that use less power than DRAM memory chips of today. But the big bonus prize is that HP's technology can store and retrieve values outside the standard 1's and 0's--a vast array of intermediate values as the NYT claims--allowing the resistors to function like biological synapses.

With that said, this could be a breakthrough for artificial intelligence development, leading to a possible understanding of speech or actual machine "vision." R. Stanley Williams, director of the quantum science research group at H.P., believes that the memristor technology should become commercialized rather quick. "This is on a fast track," he said.

The group stumbled upon the new technology while looking for a new class of organic molecules to serve as nano-sized switches. The research, spanning decades, would eventually lead to switches the size of a single molecule, and take the place of electronic circuits made with photolithographic techniques. However the researchers instead found memory properties in thin spots of titanium dioxide, thus leading them to the current memristor technology today.

“I can see all kinds of new technologies and I’m thrilled,” Williams said. For the full article, head over to the New York Times here.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    ptroen , April 8, 2010 11:14 PM
    If this gets patented like rambus then perhaps nobody will be interested.
  • 11 Hide
    FUtomNOreg , April 9, 2010 12:03 AM
    Speech recognition and AI has never been a problem of technology. No amount of speed or capacity can compensate for the simple fact that science still does not understand how our minds "work." Both require the understanding of context; it's not just an exercise in brute force resolution of pattern matches and decision trees. This claim gets rehashed every couple of years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    ptroen , April 8, 2010 11:14 PM
    If this gets patented like rambus then perhaps nobody will be interested.
  • Display all 44 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    RazberyBandit , April 8, 2010 11:17 PM
    Quote:
    HP's discovery could lead to AI that can see and understand speech.

    Cylons!? :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , April 8, 2010 11:18 PM
    ptroenIf this gets patented like rambus then perhaps nobody will be interested.

    Agreed. I seriously doubt that would happen however.

    Anyways, I expect this to become mainstream for CPUs in 5-10 years.
  • 9 Hide
    Shadow703793 , April 8, 2010 11:21 PM
    RazberyBanditCylons!?

    No.
    HAL 9000.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , April 8, 2010 11:29 PM
    hmm, memristors are discovered in 2008?
    http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/memristor.html
  • 8 Hide
    RazberyBandit , April 8, 2010 11:31 PM
    Quote:
    No.
    HAL 9000.

    What are you doing, Dave? :) 
  • 1 Hide
    enzo matrix , April 8, 2010 11:43 PM
    tirinimhmm, memristors are discovered in 2008?http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/memristor.html

    Appearently "rather quick" is still much longer than 10 years. Either that or the technology was abandoned. Ideas anyone?
  • 5 Hide
    polly the parrot , April 8, 2010 11:44 PM
    Quote:
    HP's discovery could lead to AI that can see and understand speech.


    See speech?
  • 0 Hide
    enzo matrix , April 8, 2010 11:45 PM
    For a list of developments in 2009 and 2010:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memristor

  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , April 8, 2010 11:54 PM
    could this be the first good thing from hp, ever? my first few hp's tell me otherwise.
  • 1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , April 8, 2010 11:54 PM
    tirinimhmm, memristors are discovered in 2008?http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/memristor.html

    That is correct, however according to BBC they just created the "working" stuff recently:
    Quote:
    Researchers at computer firm Hewlett Packard (HP) have shown off working devices built using memristors - often described as electronics' missing link

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8609885.stm
  • 0 Hide
    omnimodis78 , April 8, 2010 11:54 PM
    HP will be buying google in 3 years.
  • 9 Hide
    arvedui , April 8, 2010 11:57 PM
    Protocol Droids!
  • 11 Hide
    FUtomNOreg , April 9, 2010 12:03 AM
    Speech recognition and AI has never been a problem of technology. No amount of speed or capacity can compensate for the simple fact that science still does not understand how our minds "work." Both require the understanding of context; it's not just an exercise in brute force resolution of pattern matches and decision trees. This claim gets rehashed every couple of years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
  • 1 Hide
    shadowryche , April 9, 2010 12:07 AM
    I've seen something good come from HP...

    The money I've made fixing their shit.
  • 9 Hide
    shin0bi272 , April 9, 2010 12:13 AM
    I'm a cybernetic organism... living tissue over metal endoskeleton...
  • 2 Hide
    loomis86 , April 9, 2010 1:13 AM
    I'm having a real difficult time imagining software that can make use of a CPU (or RAM) composed of switches with more than two possible values.
  • 3 Hide
    nukem950 , April 9, 2010 1:16 AM
    As cool as C3PO is, I do not want to have a bunch of whiny robots running around talking about being doomed and bragging about abilities...
  • 5 Hide
    HansVonOhain , April 9, 2010 2:26 AM
    Cannot wait for Memristor based RAM. You switch off the computer, go to bed, turn it on in the morning, it is ready after 2 sec of initial Boot Up.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 9, 2010 3:44 AM
    dreamphantom_1977This is old news- "Published: May 1, 2008". I knew I read this somewhere before, scientific america I think. When I clicked on the link they posted, it shows the publishing date right at the top of each page. Proving my theory that Toms is running out of articles. Starting to look through old news. LOL.


    Please see post by Shadow. They only created the working stuff recently.
Display more comments