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HP's "Memristor" Could Replace Transistors

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.

  • ptroen
    If this gets patented like rambus then perhaps nobody will be interested.
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    HP's discovery could lead to AI that can see and understand speech.
    Cylons!? :)
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    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.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    RazberyBanditCylons!?No.
    HAL 9000.
    Reply
  • hmm, memristors are discovered in 2008?
    http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/memristor.html
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    9197280 said:
    No.
    HAL 9000.
    What are you doing, Dave? :)
    Reply
  • enzo matrix
    tirinimhmm, memristors are discovered in 2008?http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/memristor.htmlAppearently "rather quick" is still much longer than 10 years. Either that or the technology was abandoned. Ideas anyone?
    Reply
  • polly the parrot
    HP's discovery could lead to AI that can see and understand speech.

    See speech?
    Reply
  • enzo matrix
    For a list of developments in 2009 and 2010:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memristor

    Reply
  • could this be the first good thing from hp, ever? my first few hp's tell me otherwise.
    Reply