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The researchers formed memristors by crossing platinum nanowires with another wire, with a thin dab of titanium dioxide at the junction. Each wire is a seperate memristor, yielding 17 memristors, each 50 nm (150 atoms appr.) wide. The memristor remembers even after powered off.  (Source: J. J. Yang, HP Labs.)
New discrete component from HP joins the ranks of the resistor, capacitor and inductor as the fourth major circuit element

Yesterday Hewlett-Packard (HP), best known as a leading personal computer manufacturer, announced what may be one of the most significant electronics breakthroughs of the decade.  Researchers at HP Labs, the central research center for the company, confirmed the existence of the previously theorized fourth fundamental circuit element of electrical engineering.

The new component is called the “memristor” -- a word blend of "memory" and "resistor".  The physical working model and the mathematical model of the component were presented side by side in a paper in the journal Nature, yesterday.  Four researchers at the lab, led by R. Stanley Williams, presented the device which retains the history of information passed to it.

The device could make for computers that need no boot-up, never forget, use less power, and associate memories much like the human mind.  Such possibilities were long considered the realm of science fiction.  The realization of the device was 37 years in the making, and many had come to think it would never be created.

The component was initially theorized and named by Leon Chua, a distinguished faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department of the University of California at Berkeley, in 1971.  Chua's paper argued that the new component was a fundamental fourth element of electronics with unique properties which the other elements did not have.

By leveraging experience in nanoelectronics, Williams was finally able to realize Chua's creation, over three decades later.  Williams was ecstatic about the success.  He stated, "To find something new and yet so fundamental in the mature field of electrical engineering is a big surprise, and one that has significant implications for the future of computer science.  By providing a mathematical model for the physics of a memristor, HP Labs has made it possible for engineers to develop integrated circuit designs that could dramatically improve the performance and energy efficiency of PCs and data centers."

The device could eventually make dynamic random access memory (DRAM) obsolete.  In current systems, active computers store data in DRAM, but must shuffle the information to and from a magnetic hard disk or a flash drive, nonvolatile forms of memory.  Furthermore, when the computer is turned on, the DRAM must be initially loaded from the magnetic memory.  These processes consume both time and energy, slowing computing and raising the energy and heat envelopes of systems.

A memristor would need no boot up as its data would be exactly how it was previously left.  Data could theoretically be read and wrote directly to and from memristors, eliminating the need for hard drives, except possibly for backup storage.

With the advent of “cloud computing” -- the transition of data storage to the online world this device becomes even more valuable and timely.  The IT infrastructure that's growing to support cloud computing uses thousands of systems, multiplying the energy costs of ram usage exponentially.  The new component could dramatically reduce the power, and thus the expense of such systems, as well as helping to protect user data and reducing load times.

One key problem to data centers has always been the possibility of a power loss.  The memristor essentially would take away the problem, as barring complete circuit destruction; the data would survive a power outage.  The type of memory also offers the possibility of continuously learning and adapting systems, similar to the human brain.  Such systems could be used in facial recognition technology, as well as in enabling advanced biometric security and privacy features.

Williams is no stranger to innovation -- he founded HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Lab and has been its director ever since.  The lab strives to develop advances in the realms of mathematics and physical science useful to computing.  The lab has logged many advances in nanoelectronics and nanophotonics, but the memristor may well go down in history as its most significant contribution.



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great discovery but ...
By das mod on 5/1/2008 2:26:05 PM , Rating: 5
where can i get a higher resolution picture
of the girl you used for this article ??




RE: great discovery but ...
By MrWho on 5/1/2008 2:32:20 PM , Rating: 5
Nevermind the fact that this has to be one of the biggest breakthroughs of the decade! Heck, I want those boobies! 8p


RE: great discovery but ...
By BMFPitt on 5/1/2008 3:00:04 PM , Rating: 3
When these go into production, we can access pictures of her faster!

When combined with the FireFox girl, these new devices will lead to world peace.


RE: great discovery but ...
By feraltoad on 5/2/2008 4:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
We read the article. Now show us the boobies!


RE: great discovery but ...
By phxfreddy on 5/2/2008 9:24:46 AM , Rating: 2
You would probably not look as good with the boobies. But if you wish we can start you on hormone therapy


RE: great discovery but ...
By TimberJon on 5/2/2008 11:19:30 AM , Rating: 2
What boobies?


RE: great discovery but ...
By bldckstark on 5/2/2008 12:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
What boobies? She has nearly none!

I like the little ones though. They don't have that problem with gravity that the big ones do. I spent an unspeakable amoount of time dissecting the physics of a soft sided cantilever mounted device and it's elastic/plastic properties over time in earth's gravity.

The first mass-marketed device to use anti-gravity would likely be a new brassiere designed by Victoria's Secret. Any other theories, or names for such a product?


RE: great discovery but ...
By HVAC on 5/2/2008 1:06:48 PM , Rating: 3
GraviPerk
Sag-B-Gone
Wonder Loft
Clouds of Venus
Maiden's D-lite
Powered Strapless Valkyrie (although honestly this sounds more like a man-portable weapon)


RE: great discovery but ...
By Pythias on 5/6/2008 10:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
Zero-G Double Ds FTW


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/1/2008 2:32:41 PM , Rating: 5
I second that motion....


RE: great discovery but ...
By dsx724 on 5/1/2008 2:42:48 PM , Rating: 3
i hope they're not made of plastic.


RE: great discovery but ...
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/1/2008 2:46:26 PM , Rating: 5
Obviously they're made of silicon(e) ;)


RE: great discovery but ...
By forumlurker on 5/1/2008 2:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
I have been a Daily Tech forum lurker for over a year. I finally registered to make a witty comment and someone beat me to the punch.

Congrats! Great minds think a like.

I am going to go back to my internet black hole now.


RE: great discovery but ...
By Ananke on 5/1/2008 3:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
The girl is obviously employee at HP Shanghai office /see the scripts behind her/ and the picture is done recently /I compared weather pattern through the window with some weather sim models I run on hijacked IRS and INS comps :)/. However, I will keep her name anonimous, since I would like very much to marry her, be very loyal spouse and make her 5 children, at least :).


RE: great discovery but ...
By SandmanWN on 5/1/2008 4:35:52 PM , Rating: 5
I would wager she's probably already got a restraining order against you.


RE: great discovery but ...
By vic1218 on 5/2/2008 7:25:47 AM , Rating: 2
Em... She's probably a taiwanese... The wordings in the backdrop is in Traditional Chinese... :)


RE: great discovery but ...
By Gyres01 on 5/1/2008 4:35:40 PM , Rating: 3
Heck yea....I am @ full capacity trying to resist her.......


RE: great discovery but ...
By funduck on 5/1/2008 4:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
yeah please provide


RE: great discovery but ...
By pxavierperez on 5/1/2008 5:54:23 PM , Rating: 5
Daily tech has got to stop doing that. When I saw the babe I clicked on the link to this article without even knowing what it was about. Instinct.

But yes, a link to guide us to the high resolution version picture of her will be very much appreciated.


RE: great discovery but ...
By Ringold on 5/1/2008 7:46:41 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Daily tech has got to stop doing that. When I saw the babe I clicked on the link to this article without even knowing what it was about. Instinct.


Agreed. DailyTech, you're getting ad revenue due to my weak, weak male mind, the least you can do is provide a decent resolution. :P

Notice other tech sites that have photo galleries of nothing but booth babes from conventions. Feel free to follow the industry trend.


RE: great discovery but ...
By Concreteboy9 on 5/1/2008 7:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
funny, the only character i can read from that image is ?,which can mean feminine charm. . .


RE: great discovery but ...
By Concreteboy9 on 5/1/2008 7:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
ok chinese character wasn't recognized in the comment, but it was the middle one behind her, sè


RE: great discovery but ...
By LivinLondon on 5/2/2008 7:56:41 AM , Rating: 5
yes, it took this photo to draw yet another lurker into registering. Other posts below are correct: She is from Taiwan. Did some Google search and she popped up, but in a different pose, same campaign. Post more if you find them. ;-)
http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/15/hp-launches-new...


RE: great discovery but ...
RE: great discovery but ...
By noxipoo on 5/2/2008 11:48:33 AM , Rating: 2
nice links. she doesn't look asian... mixed or just a foreign model in taiwan? whatever, shes hot.


RE: great discovery but ...
By jconan on 5/3/2008 4:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
but northern chinese have sharper noses and less rounded face vs southern chinese


RE: great discovery but ...
By noxipoo on 5/5/2008 10:49:59 AM , Rating: 2
never seen anyone looking like her in northern china, plus this is in taiwan, not very north.


RE: great discovery but ...
By das mod on 5/2/2008 2:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
thanks both for posting those links ...
my life can now move on :)


RE: great discovery but ...
By Andrevas on 5/2/2008 8:49:19 PM , Rating: 1
she has NO titties

no motorboating = epic fail


RE: great discovery but ...
By piroroadkill on 5/4/2008 9:42:05 AM , Rating: 2
is dat sum delicious flat chest?

It is indeed, very hot


RE: great discovery but ...
By nugundam93 on 5/8/2008 9:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
epic win! she's hot. :D


So....
By Natfly on 5/1/2008 3:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I don't see what the big deal is, it just seems like another type of non-volatile storage like HDDs, SSDs, phase change, and holographic storage. Perhaps it will be much faster?

As for having no boot times, computers have been able to suspend to ram for ages...except now it would be without requiring power.




RE: So....
By dice1111 on 5/1/2008 3:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
A memory circuit is complex and requires power to either switch or maintain. It requires transistors, resistors, etc, to perform it's function.

This is an inherit electrical component and does not need any circuitry, it is the circuit itself. Power requirements should be negligable depending on the types of material being used. I haven't read much on how much current is recuired to switch the device as I am at work and can only take a quick look. If this article can be indication, next to nothing. Nevermind the size reduction that comes alone with this. This is HUGE.


RE: So....
By FITCamaro on 5/1/2008 3:34:34 PM , Rating: 4
Two things.

First, how could this possibly get rid of hard drives. Yes it would remember the information stored on it, but I mean you couldn't just write data to a block, write different data to the block, and then access the data you previously wrote could you?

Second, I'm not sure I want my computer to retain what was happening all the time. I mean part of what makes computers work today is that in the event of a failure or problem, you can, if nothing else, reboot to clear your memory. If memory based off this circuitry were used, then the failure condition that existed prior to shut down would still be there upon reboot.


RE: So....
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/1/2008 3:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Hard drives would still be used. Think of this as RAM that retains data. Your hard disk still holds most of the necessary information, but you could load alot of temp and swap space to this stuff, and keep it there.

In the event of an error that requires a RAM clear, they would need to implement a BIOS (or likely EFI by that time) level utility that lets you clear these things.


RE: So....
By TomZ on 5/1/2008 3:49:54 PM , Rating: 5
Hard drives will become obsolete only when some other form of memory exceeds it in terms of cost and/or physical density. There's nothing special about the hard drive except that they are very dense and very cheap.


RE: So....
By jordanclock on 5/1/2008 4:01:13 PM , Rating: 3
The whole point of having RAM and hard drive is because hard drives are too slow to actually run a program from, but RAM doesn't have the density to store everything you need (and keep it).

So this would, indeed, remove the need for two separate devices. You could use a memristor device that has enough space to provide storage like a hard drive, but it would also be used as the RAM too, most likely as a large swap space.


RE: So....
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/1/2008 4:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
Alright I will use your method then. Under your method you still need two devices. They can both be comprised of these new memristor devices, however you still need two. One that can be cleared on demand (Swap space/Ram) and another that stores data. If you were unable to dump swap space/ram in favor of a fresh set of the last working data, your completely screwed in the event of a software glitch that is sitting in RAM.


RE: So....
By darkpaw on 5/1/2008 4:40:13 PM , Rating: 3
Two devices yes, but likely both memory based. The sooner they can eliminate the mechanical parts (HDD) the better.


RE: So....
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/1/2008 5:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in favor of Holographic based disk drives tbh. Memory can be whatever your fancy is.


RE: So....
By casket on 5/1/2008 8:41:06 PM , Rating: 3
Not necessarily two devices. You can partition this memory... Reserve the first 2 gigs for ram, and the rest for storage.


RE: So....
By Natfly on 5/1/2008 4:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
My point was that all I knew was that this can be used to store data.

The possible density, speed, read/write cycles, data retention life I have no clue about. So depending on these factors it could be used as a replacement for any type of storage whether it be cpu cache, dram, magnetic hard disks, or flash memory.

The only thing I've gathered is that it is much simpler than the above storage methods.


RE: So....
By Zoomer on 5/3/2008 9:41:41 AM , Rating: 3
2This is huge.

Just about the simplest memory that can be created now would be the latch. This is how it looks like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SR-NOR-latch.pn...

These aren't really commonly used because of the restricted combination. More commonly used D-flip flops are even more complex.
http://thalia.spec.gmu.edu/~pparis/classes/notes_1...

This would allow the elimination of both these gates, as well as the intermediate wires. Elimination of gate delay, delay from intermediate wires, etc will lower power consumption and increase the response time (read: higher max clock) of the component.


RE: So....
By s12033722 on 5/3/2008 7:31:42 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, the simplest memory that can be created now is a capacitor and sense transistor, otherwise known as DRAM. You are describing SRAM which is all but obsolete.

Also, I seriously doubt that this element will be used in anything major anytime soon. This just describes how to make an element. No read/write circuitry exists, it appears to be extremely hard to manufacture, and no details exist about speed, data retention, etc. This is interesting, but it is only a curiosity for the moment.


RE: So....
By Jedi2155 on 5/5/2008 5:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
There was a mention in an article somewhere of the speed being about 1/10th what current memory technologies are at but it doesn't mention which tech in particular.


RE: So....
By 9thZergKiller on 5/6/2008 1:02:52 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You are describing SRAM which is all but obsolete.

SRAM's a lot faster than DRAM. The requirement for "sense transistor" in the DRAM makes it slow. Thus, the SRAM is not "all but obsolete."

quote:
Also, I seriously doubt that this element will be used in anything major anytime soon. This just describes how to make an element. No read/write circuitry exists, it appears to be extremely hard to manufacture, and no details exist about speed, data retention, etc. This is interesting, but it is only a curiosity for the moment.

Agreed there at least.


RE: So....
By snownpaint on 5/2/2008 10:11:22 AM , Rating: 2
Like your brain you can process information and store it in the same place. Its like having the processor built into your hard drive. We are now getting close to logic and memory trains that the brain uses..

Think of you first bike.. There should be a flood of memories that come with that, some are about the color of the bike, brand, type, ect.. Others are the house you lived in during that time, or maybe the mushroom grips, a bad crash, or the person that help you learn to ride.. Welcome to the memory train, and inference thinking.

Not only that, but you now can have zero boot up, and zero moving parts in your PC.. a very stable system, that is off and on as needed. no more standby. Battery life with super efficient CPUs could last for weeks, maybe months, depending on use.


Excellent
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/1/2008 2:20:07 PM , Rating: 4
Mad props to these guys. Can't wait to see practical usage in future platforms.




RE: Excellent
By MrBlastman on 5/1/2008 2:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
I concur. Bye bye CMOS battery, you'll be missed. :)


RE: Excellent
By ViroMan on 5/1/2008 3:01:44 PM , Rating: 3
Your still going to need the CMOS battery. How else do you intend your computer to keep time unless you keep it the whole computer on battery backup 24/7 (which is more expensive).

The CMOS is mainly for the computer to remember CMOS settings yes... but it also allows the computer to count the time that passes.


RE: Excellent
By DragonMaster0 on 5/1/2008 3:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
There are currently used alternatives such as +5VSB (your CMOS battery is useless while your computer is connected to the mains, by the way as you'd be replacing the battery every 3 weeks otherwise),
and your computer could simply get time from the Internet on boot rather than once every few days like Windows is doing currently.


RE: Excellent
By TomZ on 5/1/2008 3:29:35 PM , Rating: 3
Not true, the typical Lithium battery used in computers can power the real-time clock for many years without any outside power.

Think about it...how often do you change the battery in your watch? Also with a typical watch, the battery is much smaller, and the battery will also power the moving hands of an analog watch of you have one.


RE: Excellent
By ViroMan on 5/2/2008 4:33:49 AM , Rating: 3
Sure you could use the +5 but thats why I said you would have to keep your whole computer on a battery backup. When ever a power outage occurs you loose time. If your clock is reset, windows will force a disk check on you believing your disk got messed up because the date stamps are ahead of the clock.


RE: Excellent
By MrBlastman on 5/1/2008 4:48:25 PM , Rating: 1
Easy, you update your time via the internet and the Atomic Clock. Far more accurate than a battery-driven timer. :)

(now all we have to do is make sure latency doesn't get in the way ;) )


RE: Excellent
By jconan on 5/2/2008 4:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
unfortunately not every pc is connected to the network some are stand alone only for security and certain functions. even the battlestar galactica the pcs weren't networked. j/k


RE: Excellent
By djkrypplephite on 5/2/2008 3:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
This is too good of an invention to use, like a lot of others. I doubt its use will come to pass.


LOL
By mindless1 on 5/2/2008 5:25:30 PM , Rating: 4
9 out of 10 Dailytech visitors seem to have been looking for pron and accidentally found memristors instead.

Attention Geeks: Improve your search skills. You are looking in the wrong places, if you got up from your computer and peeked out the window every once in a while...




RE: LOL
By wordsworm on 5/4/2008 3:24:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Attention Geeks: Improve your search skills. You are looking in the wrong places, if you got up from your computer and peeked out the window every once in a while...


You don't get it, do you? That hot babe has temporary 'HP' tattoos, and the FF girl has FF on her t-shirt. If it was just a girl in a white t-shirt, no one would care. It's the fact that she's got FF grafted onto her boobs.


RE: LOL
By mindless1 on 5/4/2008 10:01:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'M THE ONE who doesn't get it?

Who gives a hoot what's on her T-shirt. Looks, personality,and more are found right outside your window instead of drooling at pictures of what you can't have.

Sure, everyone likes a nice picture, but to be so distracted as to comment on it???


RE: LOL
By wordsworm on 5/4/2008 10:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure, everyone likes a nice picture, but to be so distracted as to comment on it???


It's mixing sex with computers - the ultimate turn on. I don't see how this is so hard to understand.

quote:
Looks, personality,and more are found right outside your window instead of drooling at pictures of what you can't have.


Perhaps, but does 'she' have an HP logo on her or a FF shirt?


RE: LOL
By mindless1 on 5/7/2008 12:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
That's what makes it geeky.


RE: LOL
By noxipoo on 5/5/2008 2:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, the FF girl was photoshopped.


How much does this cost?
By knightspawn1138 on 5/1/2008 3:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
They're talking about making these things out of platinum and other precious metals, and on an almost atomic level. I have to wonder how much money it would cost to make a single gigabyte with this process. And would it impact the market for these metals? Would the price of this kind of RAM increase infinitely as the supply of platinum is used up to match an ever-growing demand?




RE: How much does this cost?
By Chudilo on 5/1/2008 3:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
This is the first successful attempt to create this new basic component. Give it time. I'm sure they'll figure out a way to do this with cheaper materials.
Fuel cell membranes started out being made with Platinum too. But now they have them made out of special ceramics and nanotubes.


RE: How much does this cost?
By Jedi2155 on 5/1/2008 11:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
As the previous poster as pointed out, they've figured out how to do fuel cells using iron as a catalyst.

The same thing occurred with the invention of the transistor, the first transistors weren't exactly cheap but they needed a lot of them and someone figured out how to make them with cheaper materials. Just give it time.

If you want to know more about this new invention, check out the article at New Scientist - http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn13812...

Also Dr. Leon Chua's site at Berkeley http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~chua/


RE: How much does this cost?
By alp689 on 5/2/2008 10:18:32 AM , Rating: 2
The link posted talked about "brain-like processors" and how the memristor behaves a lot like nerve synapses. Could true AI be possible using these things?


By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/2/2008 10:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
Surprisingly, yes. Perhaps even a "consciousness." Some of the guys who do emergence theory are very excited about this.


By 9thZergKiller on 5/6/2008 1:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They're talking about making these things out of platinum and other precious metals, and on an almost atomic level. [...] And would it impact the market for these metals? Would the price of this kind of RAM increase infinitely as the supply of platinum is used up to match an ever-growing demand?

When you are using 45 nm^2 of platinum for a percentage of 1 cm^2, you aren't going to run out anytime soon (as you said: it's "on an almost atomic level").


impatient
By kevinkreiser on 5/1/2008 2:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
it's too bad we probably won't see it in use for a while yet




RE: impatient
By dnd728 on 5/1/2008 3:14:16 PM , Rating: 4
Leave the girl alone! X-(


Sounds good.
By maverick85wd on 5/1/2008 2:31:11 PM , Rating: 2
Sign me up for a terabyte.




wow
By neihrick1 on 5/1/08, Rating: 0
RE: wow
By jdoty on 5/2/2008 2:48:07 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this how SkyNet got started?


wrote->written
By MBlueD on 5/3/2008 1:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
"A memristor would need no boot up as its data would be exactly how it was previously left. Data could theoretically be read and wrote directly to and from memristors, eliminating the need for hard drives, except possibly for backup storage."

A memristor would need no boot up as its data would be exactly how it was previously left. Data could theoretically be read and written directly to and from memristors, eliminating the need for hard drives, except possibly for backup storage.




By wordsworm on 5/4/2008 3:20:44 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't know there was any real depth to the company. This triumph of technology has given me a new appreciation for the company. Unfortunately, I still don't like them for computers. What I like are the small companies who will build custom computers for me. I tell them what I want, they build it. Dell gives a few options, but nothing like the guys I go through. I chose everything from RAM, OS, HDTV, videocard, CPU... everything. Why can't a major OEM do something like that for once? I'd think a company could quite easily pop up right next to Newegg that does a business like that.

Anywho, nice to see that HP isn't just wasting its money on dividends for the investors.




New class of corruption
By dmcowen674 on 5/4/2008 4:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's hard enough or many times impossible to recover from Hard Drive corruption, imagine this




Uh...
By AToZKillin on 5/4/2008 5:20:05 PM , Rating: 2
What was the article about again? I was too busy reading the comments about the girl...




remember 'Bubble memory'
By donnie0526 on 5/7/2008 11:37:44 AM , Rating: 2
Could this follow the same demise?
so much promise, so few real applications delivered.




Performance Possibilities?
By EricMartello on 5/1/2008 10:14:00 PM , Rating: 1
Just think of the potential these babies would have if they made memristor SAS "drives" and put them in RAID 50. OOOH




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