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HP Labs Teams With Hynix to Make Memristors

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 32 comments

Is this the first step towards more advanced forms of AI?

Earlier this year, HP revealed that it has designed an electrical resistor with memory properties called "memristor," a technology that is simpler than existing transistors, and does not require a constant electrical current to retain information.

The memristor technology can store and retrieve values outside the standard 1's and 0's, which opens up many new possibilities outside of traditional computing – such as artificial intelligence. That will take some time, but the base technology is ready.

HP announced this week a joint development agreement with Hynix Semiconductor to bring the memristor to market in future memory products.

The two companies will jointly develop new materials and process integration technology to transfer the memristor technology from research to commercial development in the form of Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM). Hynix will implement the memristor technology in its research and development fab.

ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that holds the potential to replace Flash memory currently used in mobile phones and MP3 players. It also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium – that is, memory that can behave as Flash, DRAM or even a hard drive.

Memristors require less energy to operate, are faster than present solid-state storage technologies and can retain information even when power is off. The memristor also can perform logic, showing that memristor-based devices could change the standard paradigm of computing by enabling computation to one day be performed in chips where data is stored, rather than on a specialized central processing unit.

Read more about memristors here and check out the video below.

HP Hynix Memristor

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Jerky_san , September 2, 2010 12:28 PM
    Huzah now maybe no one will have to pay the evil patent troll.. you know the one i mean @_@ evil rambus
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Jerky_san , September 2, 2010 12:28 PM
    Huzah now maybe no one will have to pay the evil patent troll.. you know the one i mean @_@ evil rambus
  • 3 Hide
    Travis Beane , September 2, 2010 12:32 PM
    Nothing is perfect. Everything that has benefits also has flaws. Here's to hoping those flaws are ignorable.
  • -9 Hide
    harth13 , September 2, 2010 12:40 PM
    so...
  • 2 Hide
    NotYetRated , September 2, 2010 12:47 PM
    Is this the beginning of the end. I.E. Skynet?.... :( 
  • -2 Hide
    michalmierzwa , September 2, 2010 1:03 PM
    Future in making
  • -2 Hide
    dstigue , September 2, 2010 1:18 PM
    That sounds insane. The more you add the more memory and computational power you get. I'll wait until I see it but this could open the doors to quantum computing.
  • 7 Hide
    mavroxur , September 2, 2010 1:20 PM
    ReRAM starts with an "R", like "R"amBus. Surely, a patent suit will follow...
  • 0 Hide
    zak_mckraken , September 2, 2010 1:54 PM
    Quote:
    The memristor technology can store and retrieve values outside the standard 1's and 0's, which opens up many new possibilities outside of traditional computing – such as artificial intelligence.

    I really wonder how this could possibly used. Every variable can be summarized in 0's and 1's. Being able to store different values in one bit could reduce memory usage dramatically, but I can't see how it would offer anything new.

    I might be missing something, but at any rate, innovation is always good!
  • 9 Hide
    saturnus , September 2, 2010 2:00 PM
    The potential for memristors are enormous. They're basically in this form a variarable resistance transistor, and as such in principle an analogue device. It has innumerable potential uses but the first uses will probably as the name implies be in memory products.

    Eg. it's a 1 transistor replacement for cache memory, cutting cache memories chip-realestate by 6 to 8 times while being both faster and consume less power.

    It can also directly go into SDRAM and double it's capacity by not needing a capacitor to sustain the charge over the transistor while still being just as fast a on-chip cache.

    But the real potential in memory use lies in that it in principle can store an infinite number of bits in a single transistor but a practical limit could be anywhere from 8 to 256 bits in a single transistor. All it takes is a high precision DA/AD converter to drive it. Tb single chips should be well within reach.

    Speculating even further, it could potentially revolutionize computers as those memritors in principle also being analogue trasistors and therefore could make todays operations in 1/32th to 1/256th the chip real estate since it can perform everything with a single "bit".
  • 0 Hide
    elbert , September 2, 2010 2:17 PM
    Memristor is made from a thin film of Titanium dioxide. With this tech our CPU's cache can be logic circuitry as well as logic circuitry cache. This could indeed push performance many times over.

    Most of this is very old tech ideals. The resistance switching of titanium dioxide was described in the 1968 by F. Argall.
  • 0 Hide
    zak_mckraken , September 2, 2010 2:17 PM
    It's still all about memory savings. Let's assume you could store any ASCII code on a single bit. Instead of 1's and 0's, you'll be able to store A's B's, etc. Not only will you save a byte, because your data will be written on a single bit, but that bit will also be able to hold 256 different values! The memory saving would be 8 x 256 = 2048.

    Imagine, a full 1080p movie taking as little as 5 megs! It's astonishing!

    But, it's still memory savings... it's not "new" per se.
  • 0 Hide
    elbert , September 2, 2010 2:28 PM
    By 2013 The first products using memristor technology are expected to become available. Nonvolatile memory will be the first product so at best 5 or more years till any CPU integration unfortunately.
  • 0 Hide
    elbert , September 2, 2010 2:41 PM
    The father of this technology tho is clearly the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal winner of 1986 Bernard Widrow. In 1960 Bernard Widrow develops a 3-terminal device called a "memistor" a new circuit component forming the basis of a neural network he called ADALINE.
  • 0 Hide
    Stifle , September 2, 2010 4:21 PM
    NOOOOO!!
    The possibilities seem so endless, yet with HP involved it will likely get screwed up...
  • -2 Hide
    lamorpa , September 2, 2010 4:32 PM
    The memristor technology can store and retrieve values outside the standard 1's and 0's, which opens up many new possibilities outside of traditional computing – such as artificial intelligence. That will take some time, but the base technology is ready.


    What? Seriously, WHAT?? Can they store numbers that are angry or green or something? This statement's author (I assume not necessarily the article's author) has a fundamental misunderstanding of science in general. Do they have any idea what current electronics can 'store' and how it is accomplished? Who didn't catch this one?
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , September 2, 2010 5:05 PM
    This kinda makes me want to buy stock in HP, which is something I never thought would happen. Maybe I'll just buy some Hynix instead.
  • 1 Hide
    ares1214 , September 2, 2010 6:52 PM
    I wonder what exactly HP has to do with this...Intel, AMD, G.Skill, Corsair, OCZ, maybe even Crapple all seem like something that fit this better. HP doesnt even make its own parts.
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , September 2, 2010 7:16 PM
    This is something I'm hoping to see more of now. I'm excited to see what they can do with this.
  • 0 Hide
    snotling , September 2, 2010 7:55 PM
    zak_mckrakenI really wonder how this could possibly used. Every variable can be summarized in 0's and 1's. Being able to store different values in one bit could reduce memory usage dramatically, but I can't see how it would offer anything new.I might be missing something, but at any rate, innovation is always good!


    Storing a variable with its type implicitly.

    if you do some programming, you'll know that defining a variable requires to define the type (example: integer) and value (example: 42)

    then the value is stored at an address allocated by the OS for its use by the program.

    The program uses it in context through its subroutines (example: answer to life, the universe and everything)

    a memory that can store "other" than base 2 values, I speculate could implicitly use the raw data as defined without need for context. (in the previous example: metaphysical integer to the solve universe = 42)

    because the context is stored with the value, intelligent processes would be easier to develop and less complex subroutines would be needed to use simple values.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 2, 2010 10:23 PM
    The fact that it can take a value outside of 0 or 1 itself is revolutionary for computing!
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