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 journalNature 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.