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Memristor advances promise self-processing memory units.

In November of 2008, DailyTech covered the release of an technology from HP Labs dubbed the memristor. The memristor, a resistor with memory capabilities, promised leaps forward in circuit architecture as the devices could function as and replace the power of traditional transistors, but with a smaller build count per chip.

Memristors have other uses as well -- flexible, dense memory storage with the capability to save its contents without constant power promised to revolutionize on-board memory for low-power devices like MP3s players and mobile phones.

HP Labs produced another technological leap last week as it released information in the journal
Nature of a self-computing memristor. A device able to act as both a processor and a memory device. Without the need to send all instructions to a central processing unit, the memristor devices could contribute significantly to everything from supercomputers to hand-held electronics.

Memristors are faster than standard flash memory, able to hold more information then most current means of memory storage, and hold their "charge" without direct power. An instant-on device powered by memristors could literally be turned on and off at the users discretion without risk of losing data or lengthy boot-up times common to classical integrated circuit architecture.

Rather than storing data as an electrical charge, a memristor "remembers" the amount of voltage last run through it as a change in resistance in one layer. This resistance can be measured afterward and will not change even if the unit is not receiving power of any kind.

Lab directory R. Stanley Williams intimated that our brains are made of organic memristors and this technology could lead to computers that function more like human brains than the various processing architectures currently available on silicon.

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AI or SI?
By TimberJon on 4/9/2010 11:28:00 AM , Rating: 2
The SI from Peter Hamilton's "Pandora's Star" comes to mind. Hopefully this tech will make its way into our graphics cards, cars, cell phones and other things.

RE: AI or SI?
By highlandsun on 4/9/2010 1:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
Wonderful, but remember there's a catch - analog computing isn't good at the tasks digital computing is good at, and vice versa. Self-computing memristors indeed sound like the neurons in our brains (neurons are both compute elements and storage elements, there is no separation of function like the difference between CPU and RAM in digital computers) and if they're able to develop large-scale computing systems from this, they're going to be analog...

RE: AI or SI?
By ipay on 4/9/2010 5:12:11 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, there is no catch.
This new technology come to complement the existing one.
Base on memristors, you can build new types of computer much better at some nonlinear tasks (like pattern recognition and learning) then the more tradicional ones, with von neumann arquitecture.

Make no mistake about it, it will be a revolution, not evolution.

RE: AI or SI?
By kkwst2 on 4/15/2010 2:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
While the technology may eventually allow analog computing, it appears that the initial applications will be very much in the realm of state logic. So the technology may be revolutionary (time will tell) but the initial applications appear very much evolutionary.

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