Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Memristor - Supercharging Moore's Law

Interesting story from MIT's Technology Review. Here's a link to a video explaining memristors.
Technology Review: Memristors Make Chips Cheaper
Researchers at HP Labs in Palo Alto, CA, are betting that a new fundamental electronic component--the memristor--will keep computer power increasing at this rate for years to come.

Memristors were first predicted in 1971 by Berkeley professor Leon Chua. They are nanoscale devices with unique properties: a variable resistance and the ability to remember the resistance even when the power is off.

After rediscovering Chua's work, researchers at HP Labs built the first working memristor in May of this year. And last week, at the first ever Memristor and Memristor Systems Symposium, in Berkeley, CA, the same team showed how memristors can be integrated into functioning circuits. Their circuits require fewer transistors, allowing more components (and more computing power) to be packed into the same physical space while also using less power to function.

"We're trying to give Moore's Law a boost," says lead researcher Stan Williams, a senior research fellow at HP, referring to a prediction made by Intel founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors on a computer circuit (and therefore computer performance) should double roughly every two years.

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