Home > Electronics, Hardware, Memory, Research, Science, Technology > H.P. achieves breakthrough in ‘Memristor’ development

H.P. achieves breakthrough in ‘Memristor’ development

“Hewlett-Packard scientists on Thursday are to report advances in the design of a new class of diminutive switches capable of replacing transistors as computer chips shrink closer to the atomic scale.

The devices, known as memristors, or memory resistors, were conceived in 1971 by Leon O. Chua, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, but they were not put into effect until 2008 at the H.P. lab here.

They are simpler than today’s semiconducting transistors, can store information even in the absence of an electrical current and, according to a report in Nature, can be used for both data processing and storage applications.

The researchers previously reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had devised a new method for storing and retrieving information from a vast three-dimensional array of memristors. The scheme could potentially free designers to stack thousands of switches in a high-rise fashion, permitting a new class of ultradense computing devices even after two-dimensional scaling reaches fundamental limits.

Memristor-based systems also hold out the prospect of fashioning analog computing systems that function more like biological brains, Dr. Chua said.

“Our brains are made of memristors,” he said, referring to the function of biological synapses. “We have the right stuff now to build real brains.””

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