Memristor circuits lead to ultrasmall PCs. Intel and AMD unleash massively multicore CPUs.

Samsung TVs respond to your every gesture. These and other developing technologies will fundamentally change the way you think about--and use--technology.
By Christopher Null, PCWorld Oct 29, 2008 5:30 am

The Future of Your PC's Hardware
Memristor: A Groundbreaking New Circuit

Photograph: Courtesy of HPSince

the dawn of electronics, we've had only

three types of circuit components--resistors, inductors, and capacitors. But in 1971, UC Berkeley researcher Leon Chua theorized the possibility of a fourth type of component, one that would be able to measure the flow of electric current: the memristor. Now, just 37 years later, Hewlett-Packard has built one. What is it? As its name implies, the memristor can "remember" how much current has passed through it. And by alternating the amount of current that passes through it, a memristor can also become a one-element circuit component with unique properties. Most notably, it can save its electronic state even when the current is turned off, making it a great candidate to replace today's flash memory. Memristors will theoretically be cheaper and far faster than flash memory, and allow far greater memory densities. They could also replace RAM chips as we know them, so that, after you turn off your computer, it will remember exactly what it was doing when you turn it back on, and return to work instantly. This lowering of cost and consolidating of components may lead to affordable, solid-state computers that fit in your pocket and run many times faster than today's PCs. Someday the memristor could spawn a whole new type of computer, thanks to its ability to remember a range of electrical states rather than the simplistic "on" and "off" states that today's digital processors recognize. By working with a dynamic range of data states in an analog mode, memristor-based computers could be capable of far more complex tasks than just shuttling ones and zeroes around. When is it coming? Researchers say that no real barrier prevents implementing the memristor in circuitry immediately. But it's up to the business side to push products through to commercial reality. Memristors made to replace flash memory (at a lower cost and lower

taking up a much smaller area. Some patents related to memristors appear to include applications in programmable logic. control systems . MoNETA is the first large-scale neural network model to implement whole-brain circuits to power a virtual and robotic agent compatibly with memristive hardware computations. In 2010. neural networks . The software used to implement MoNETA. HP prototyped a crossbar latch memory using the devices that can fit 100 gigabits in a square [5] centimeter.g. Application of the memristor crossbar structure in the construction of analog soft computing system is demonstrated by Farnood Merrikh-Bayat and Saeed [57] [58] Bagheri Shouraki. As for memristor-based analog computers. and has designed a highly scalable 3D design (consisting of up to 1000 layers or 3 [41] 1 petabit per cm ). Several early works in this direction is [51] [52] reported. Massimiliano Versace and Ben Chandler co-wrote an article describing the MoNETA (Modular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent) model. Brain-computer [49] [50] interfaces . HP's goal is to offer them by 2012. They have also shown in 2011 how memristor crossbars can be combined with fuzzy logic to create analog memristive neuro-fuzzy computing system with fuzzy input and output terminals. In the mid 2000's. reconfigurable computing . The devices' resistance would be read with alternating current so that the stored value [43] would not be affected. e. HP has reported that its version of the memristor is currently about one-tenth the [42] speed of DRAM. has [56] been featured on the cover page of IEEE Computer in February 2011 in a joint article by HP Labs and the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab.power consumption) will likely appear first. Beyond that. which could replace transistors in future computers. a simple electronic circuit consisting of an LC network and a memristor was used to [54] model experiments on adaptive behavior of unicellular organisms.. Cog Ex Machina. to develop neuromorphic architectures which may be based on [55] memristive systems. similarly to the behavior of slime molds Physarum polycephalumwhere the viscosity of channels in the cytoplasm [54] respond to periodic changes of environment. It was shown that the electronic circuit subjected to a train of periodic pulses learns and anticipates the next pulse to come. Learning of this system is based on the creation of fuzzy relations inspired from Hebbian learning rule. The DARPA’sSyNAPSE project has funded HP Labs. which would allow greater data density [40] than hard drives with access times potentially similar to DRAM. that step may take 20-plus years. allowing a replacement for CMOS-based logic computation. and RFID . [53] [44] . They can also be fashioned into non-volatile solid-state memory. memristors will likely replace both DRAM and hard disks in the 2014-to-2016 time frame. Potential applications Williams' solid-state memristors can be combined into devices called crossbar latches. Such a learning circuit may find applications. signal [45] [46] [47] [48] processing. in collaboration with the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab. replacing both components. in pattern recognition. Memristive devices can be potentially used for stateful logic implication.

SSD Human Blood Circuit Memristor Effects HP digs deeper into the electrochemical and thermal operations of titanium oxide memristors IBM Transistor hits 155ghz at 40nm Peltier Self-Cooling Graphene Transistor Effect RezQu Quantum hits 4 Qubits Graphene Week 2011. We think that NVRAM made with the types of memristor materials that are currently being studied by many groups around the world could be a strong competitor to the flash memory market in about five years.org:              Elpida acquisition target pushes 30nm reRam dram competitor to production in 2013 HP and Hynix move to replace flash memory within 2 years Flexible Memristors for Wearable and E-Display Applications Intel. We also think that this is a very interesting and potentially valuable research direction. The great thing is that the various metal oxides that have been identified as having a memory function are highly compatible with present chip fabrication facilities. and he has performed a lot of research in the area of neural computing. Latest Tech News onMemristor. Micron hit 20nm Flash NAND.What types of applications could memristors have? We see two types of applications for memristors and memristive devices. as the name "memory resistor" implies. The major contribution of our work to this effort at this point is to make the connection to the non-linear circuit theory of Leon Chua – without the fundamental understanding that comes from his circuit equations. Another interesting application is as an 'artificial synapse' in a circuit designed for analog computation. the devices themselves are fairly useless. or NVRAM. in that it would not 'forget' the data that it stores when the power is turned off. Chua himself pointed out the connection between the properties of his proposed memristor and those of a synapse in his earliest papers. However. Such a memory would have very useful properties. as experience shows. The first. the most valuable applications of memristors will most likely come from some young student who learns about these devices and has an inspiration for something totally new. so they can be made in existing foundries without a lot of changes being required. Prof. ESF Austria Reference: What Are Memristors? Magnetism on the Rise. MRAM Graphene and Solar . is for a type of non-volatile random access memory.

as digital mathematics and computers rose to dominance. Rosy colored industry analysts state there is industry concurrence that these flash memory or solid state drives (ssd) competitors could start showing up in the consumer market within 2 years. Solid-state memristors can be combined into devices called crossbar latches. there still exist some very important areas of engineering and modeling problems which require extremely complex and difficult workarounds to synthesize digitally: in part. There are difficulties in this area though. is pretty much the first to-market memristor application we’ll be seeing. unfortunately. Remember 3G? Well. the complementary circuits to the memristor which allow for the storage of charge. or dependable (or politically expedient in some cases) as digital solutions. and where they might go. MEMRISTOR:-What Memristive applications are on the horizon.Analog computation and circuit Applications: There was a track of electrical/mathematic engineering which was largely abandoned to stasis in the 1960s. so that the stored value remains unaffected. However. Non-volatile random access memory.Crossbar Latches as Transistor Replacements or Augmentors: The hungry power consumption of transistors has been a barrier to both miniaturization and microprocessor controller development. as a further extension of NVRAM capabilities. . reproducible. starting from what the first devices will look like. Unless a competition war amongst industry giants becomes one of those patent showdowns. which could replace transistors in future computers. And have profited greatly. where companies buy out technological advances to bury them. theres a way” adage will get these developed. in power-off modes. This reference page will be updated as advances in each of the areas are made. There are already3nm Memristors in fabrication now. taking up a much smaller area. . The fab prototypes resistance is read with alternating current.Non-volatile memory applications: Memristors can retain memory states. memristors can possibly allow for nano-scale low power memory and distributed state storage. . . were not as scalable. Analog computations embodied a whole area of research which. (see neuromorphic and learning circuits . before 3G even came to market. someone bought out 4G back in 2004.Low-power and remote sensing applications: coupled with memcapacitors and meminductors. and has been sitting on it ever since. and data. So perhaps the “where theres a will. because they map economically onto analog models. Crossbar latch memory (see below) developed by Hewlett Packard is reportedly currently about one-tenth the speed of DRAM. or a dollar. or NVRAM. These are currently all hypothetical in terms of time to market. and how close are they to reality? We look at a survey of memristor applications and technology. although the benefits these could bring are focusing a lot of money in their development.

after the analog/digital split between him and John vonNeumann.) The early work of Norbert Wiener has already started to be revisited. No more neural pattern algorythm training on stock market data for the pop-sci investor: now. . The memristive applications in these areas will remain relatively the same. however. and a variety of Control System memristor patents are out there. . Not anywhere close to reality. artificial intelligence modeling. and used recently to model experiments on adaptive behavior of unicellular organisms. you can grow your own neural network! Just add two drops of memristor. every year. But modeling a brain using ratiocinated mathematics is like using linear algebra to model calculus. are betting that a new fundamental electronic component--the . in part because a large part of the analog science detailed above has to do with advances in cognitive psychology. even in the 30 years range. but very realistic in terms of helping advance the science itself. machine learning and recent neurology advances. FYI. learns and anticipates the next pulse to come. Memristor applications will now allow us to revisit a lot of the analog science that was abandoned in the mid 1960′s.below. but required management for scalability beyond what even the extremely complex initial digital vaccum tube computers could provide. Analog was great. allowing their capabilities to expand. Researchers at HP Labs in Palo Alto. These types of learning circuits find applications anywhere from pattern recognition to Neural Networks. The experiments show that the electronic circuit. if not the consumer market for intelligent brains-in-a-jar. subjected to a train of periodic pulses. Simple electronic circuits based on an LC network and memristors have been built. because it will only be a change in the underlying physical architecture.Programmable Logic and Signal Processing. and EEG scans is leading to a treasure trove of information about how our brains work. CA. The ability to map peoples brain activities under MRI.Circuits which mimic Neuromorphic and biological systems (Learning Circuits) – This is a very large area of research. The recent memristor cat brain is also getting a lot of mention. waiting for the microchips to fall where they may. similar to the behavior of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum periodic timing as it is subjected to periodic changes of environment. But this trend could begin to slow down as the components used in electronic circuits are shrunk to the size of just a few atoms. CAT. computers continue getting faster. Entire industries and research fields are devoted to ensuring that. to the point where their applications will most likely be unrecognizable as related.

APRIL 8. remain largely unproven.memristor--will keep computer power increasing at this rate for years to come. Memristor Memory Readied for Production HP plans new nonvolatile memory for 2013. and then laying down a second array of wires perpendicular to the first. The company plans to introduce the first commercial memristor memory product in three years' time. The points where the wires cross are the memristors. 2010 BY KATHERINE BOURZAC Audio » HP has begun testing samples of a new kind of nonvolatile memory based on memristors-circuit elements that are much smaller than the transistors used in flash memory. and each . The sample memristor arrays are being built on standard 300-millimeter silicon wafers. they could revolutionize integrated circuits and memory technology. Memristors can do the work of transistors but require less power and space. first made at HP Labs in 2008. coating the wires with a layer of titanium dioxide a few nanometers thick. The move will be an important testing ground for memristors. a senior fellow at HP and director of the company's information and quantum systems lab. They are nanoscale devices with unique properties: a variable resistance and the ability to remember the resistance even when the power is off. HP expects its memristor memory technology to scale better than flash and hopes to offer a product with a storage density of about 20 gigabytes per square centimeter in 2013--double the storage that flash is expected to offer at that time. says his group is testing the first batch of sample memristor memory devices made at an undisclosed semiconductor fab. R. the reliability and performance of these components. Memristors were first predicted in 1971 by Berkeley professor Leon Chua. Memristors are nanoscale devices with a variable resistance and the ability to remember their resistance when power is off. Hardware upgrade: Researchers removed transistors from the bottom layer of this silicon-based chip (shown in yellow and blue) and replaced them with fewer memristors in the top layer (shown in red).   THURSDAY. According to HP. Stan Williams. HP fabricates them using conventional lithography techniques: laying down a series of parallel metal nanowires.

  1 2 . and it can be stacked. A better understanding of the fundamental material properties of the metal oxides used to make the memristors will be critical to ensuring that chips with billions of the devices operate reliably over as long as 10 years. MD. "We will be able to scale faster and farther than flash because the memristor is a very simple structure. like all devices based on silicon transistors." says Curt Richter. and. Williams says that memristor memory can withstand up to about a million read-write cycles in lab tests. meaning they hold on to data even when power is cut off.000 data-writing cycles. It can only withstand about 100. Flash has some limitations.can be as small as about three nanometers. those of the materials used to make Williams's memristors are not--at least so far. Both flash and memristor memory are nonvolatile. This cross-bar structure also makes it possible to pack memristors in very dense arrays." Williams says. it will come up against physical limits as it's scaled to make more storage-dense memory devices. though. "The fundamentals of why these metal oxides switch the way they do are not well understood. Other researchers are cautiously optimistic about memristors' promise. leader of the NanoElectronic Device Metrology project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg. While silicon's material properties are well known.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful