Monday, May 10, 2010

Memristors and the future of computing

A non-volatile, fast, cheap, low-consuming, long-lasting and highly-scalable memory.
Think about those conditions for a moment and you'll immediately understand that those would be the ideal features that a computer designer could dream of.
That, in a nutshell, is what memristors promise for the future of computers.
None of the memory devices used today in computers can combine all of those in a single device.
That's why computers today have at least a hard disk, non volatile, but slow (in relation); and a RAM memory, volatile, but faster and more expensive (in relation).
Add to that the possibility of in-memory processing an essentially you are describing a human brain. And guess what.. memristors could do just that.
So, what is a memristor?.. Essentially you can think of it as a resistance that can be set to a value, or state, and it stays that way, remembering it.. A resistance with memory. An essentially passive electronic component predicted by L. Chua many years ago.

If you want to know more about them and about some of the people who are making this a reality, spend some time watching this video:

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