Memristive to Replace Traditional Transitors

Memristors Image

An array of 17 purpose-built oxygen-depleted titanium dioxide memristors built at HP Labs, imaged by an atomic force microscope. The wires are about 50 nm, or 150 atoms, wide. Electric current through the memristors shifts the oxygen vacancies, causing a gradual and persistent change in electrical resistance.

According to a Hewlett-Packard (HP) Development Company report, scientists at the HP have implemented a new way to store information that is more effective and efficient than the traditional transistor.  In fact, the “memristor,” short for memory resistor, works in a biological manner similar to the brain.  It may replace the fastest and most efficient computer memory of today, dynamic random access memory (D-Ram), in the next few years.

As for the human brain-like characteristics, memristor technology could one day lead to computer systems that can remember and associate patterns in a way similar to how people do.

This could be used to substantially improve facial recognition technology or to provide more complex biometric recognition systems that could more effectively restrict access to personal information.

These same pattern-matching capabilities could enable appliances that learn from experience and computers that can make decisions.

The funny thing is that the concept of the memristor is not new.  Leon Chua, a distinguished professor at Berkeley, published a paper in 1971 outlining the concept.  A recent article in Nature describes the algorithm involved.  The HP web site has additional information including a Wikipedia entry for memristors, link to the official press release, and FAQs about memristors.

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About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on April 8, 2010, in Technology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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