The amazing memristor - beyond Moore's law and beyond digital computing
Hewlett-Packard's researchers see an amazing future for the memristor - a very real, near mythical electronic component...
I recently visited HP Labs and spoke with Stan Williams, senior fellow at Hewlett-Packard and director of Quantum Science Research, about an incredible semiconductor device — the memristor.
Until fairly recently, the memristor, short for memory resistor, was a mythical electronic component. It had been predicted to exist by a mathematician, Leon Chua, a professor at UC Berkeley, in an 1971 paper. No one had made a memristor until Stan Williams and his team cracked it in 2008.
The memristor can:
- store data like DRAM or Flash but it doesn’t require any energy to maintain the data storage.
- the memristor chips can be laid down in layer upon layer upon layer, creating three-dimensional structures that can store and process data.
- the memristor is easy to make and completely compatible with today’s CMOS chip making processes.
- it can be scaled to very small geometries without losing its properties.
- the memristor can also perform logic, it can act as a microprocessor!
It’s that quality of a memristor, that it can be used for both data storage and data processing that Mr WIlliams and his team recently discovered, and that potentially turns the world of computing on its head. This is a very big deal indeed.
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