HP to Deploy Memristor Powered SSD Replacement Within 18 Months
October 10, 2011 9:17 AM
comment(s) - last by
DRAM and SRAM replacements are also incoming, will improve system-on-a-chip solutions
with its plan to
spin-off its core personal computers business
and focus solely on business software and hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Comp. (
) faces a high degree of investor skepticism these days. While some are optimistic
about the appointment
of former eBay, Inc. (
) chief Meg Whitman to the CEO spot, share prices still hover around relative lows. In short, HP needs all the good news it can get.
Just such an announcement may have arrived, with HP's announcement that it would be deploying memristor-powered storage devices within a year and a half.
The memristor is a fabled fourth passive two-terminal electronics component, which joins the much better known resistor, capacitor, and inductor. The memristor, a device whose resistance varies with the direction of current applied, was first formulated in a 1971 paper by University of California, Berkley professor Leon Chua. It went unimplemented until 2008, when a team at HP labs, led by R. Stanley Williams,
created a working prototype
Now, just three years after that landmark discovery HP appears to be aggressively moving towards commercialization [
]. Mr. Williams at the
2011 International Electronics Forum conference
in the southern Spanish city of Seville announced that memristor commercial products were now only 18 months away.
He comments, "We’re planning to put a replacement chip on the market to go up against flash within a year and a half and we also intend to have an SSD replacement available in a year and a half. In 2014 possibly, or certainly by 2015, we will have a competitor for DRAM and then we’ll replace SRAM. Flash is a done deal, now we’re going after DRAM, and we think we can do two orders of magnitude improvement in terms of switching energy per bit."
HP's thin film memristor process, which creates components at a 5 nm scale, can deposit 500 billion memristors within a single chip layer. What this means is that layers of memristor non-volatile storage (akin to NAND flash) and memristor RAM can be placed directly atop the CPU and GPU cores in system-on-a-chip designs. Using faster direct interconnects and scrapping the system bus for anything other than I/O, these future memristor enabled SoCs could deliver drastic battery life and processing power leaps over the hardware currently found in smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
HP was the first to implement the memristor -- a fourth passive circuit element. Now it looks to be the first to bring that product to market. [Source: Wired via Nature/HP]
Comments Mr. Williams, "We put the non-volatile memory right on top of the processor chip, and, because you’re not shipping data off-chip, that means we get the equivalent of 20 years of Moore’s Law performance improvement. We’re running hundreds of wafers through the fab. We’re way ahead of where we thought we would be at this moment in time."
HP currently owns a key patent [
U.S. Patent 7443711
] on its memristor implementation and the process to build it. And it has more patents pending. Mr. Williams says HP's plan is not to return to the components business where it was once a strong player, but rather to license the technology to interested components manufacturers.
He comments, "We're the world’s largest purchaser of DRAM and the second largest buyer of flash and we’re trying to disrupt and re-arrange our supply chain. The plan is to license this technology to anyone who wants it, and we'll teach them how to make it. But you'll have to stand in line, we have a bunch of people queued for it. We're doing this because, frankly, we didn't see a hell of a lot of innovation happening out there."
The next generation of smartphones may use HP's memristor tech to deliver unparalleled speed and battery life. [Source: Voiceable]
Of course, since HP is negotiating the licensing deals, it could potentially broker exclusivity arrangements, giving it first access to the best memristor-enabled SoCs.
According to Mr. Williams, the competition is fierce. He points out that Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) is trying to come up with a rival memristor implementation of its own. He describes, "Samsung has an even larger group working on this than we do."
The arrival of memristor-enabled hardware appears poised to be "the next big thing" in the mobile electronics market over the next five years. For all its company's struggles, it's important to acknowledge HP Labs' groundbreaking work that's making this advance at last possible after almost four decades.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: On Top?
10/10/2011 11:52:33 PM
There are many metal layers on a CPU, GPU, or SoC. This would be 'on top' in terms of the way layers are manufactured now. There are so many available layers, and it would physically be a part of the CPU, though it would probably reduce the available complexity for any CPU to 'reseve' some of the layers for this technology. Presumably, the reduction in latency would help make up for that.
It doesn't need to be 3D manufacturing, there's already multilayer metal processes on silicon.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Quick Note: Meg Whitman Says She Will Continue Apotheker's Plans for HP
September 23, 2011, 12:11 PM
HP CEO Apotheker Fired, Meg Whitman Tapped as His Replacement
September 22, 2011, 4:17 PM
IDF 2011 Exclusive: HP Discusses Spinoff Details
September 14, 2011, 5:10 PM
HP Labs Shows New Memristor Tech
April 9, 2010, 10:23 AM
The Same Chip With Fewer Transistors; HP's Memristor Changes Everything
November 26, 2008, 11:23 AM
Chromebooks Expected to See Sales Grow 26 Percent to 7.3 Million Units This Year
May 22, 2015, 1:26 PM
Apple Finally Updates 15" MacBook Pro w/ Force Touch; 5K iMac Gets Price Cut
May 20, 2015, 1:45 PM
LG G4's International Rollout Begins; Pint-Sized G4c, High-End G4 Stylus Trot Out
May 19, 2015, 12:54 AM
President Obama Posts His First "Personal" Tweet to Twitter Via an iPhone
May 18, 2015, 4:38 PM
Microsoft Bricks the Xbox Ones of Gears of War Testers Responsible for Leaks
May 14, 2015, 5:26 PM
Windows 10 Mobile Build 10080 is Available for New Phones, Brings Office Preview
May 14, 2015, 2:53 PM
Most Popular Articles
America's Largest Cable Company, Comcast, Sees Internet Subscriptions Pass TV
May 4, 2015, 2:46 PM
Can id Software's Doom Find Its Way Out of a 7+ Year Development Hell?
May 19, 2015, 7:38 PM
Oculus Rift Confirms "Pause" in OS X, Linux Development, Some Devs are Mad
May 18, 2015, 11:36 PM
The Pirate Bay Loses Its Iconic Swedish Dot SE Domains
May 20, 2015, 6:31 PM
In-Depth: Apple's ~$1B Court Victory Over Samsung to be Cut up to a Third
May 18, 2015, 9:20 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information