esocid writes "Researchers at HP Labs have solved a decades-old mystery by proving the existence of a fourth basic element in integrated circuits that could make it possible to develop computers that turn on and off like an electric light. The memristor — short for memory resistor — could make it possible to develop far more energy-efficient computing systems with memories that retain information even after the power is off, so there's no wait for the system to boot up after turning the computer on. It may even be possible to create systems with some of the pattern-matching abilities of the human brain. Leon Chua, a distinguished faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley, initially theorized about and named the element in an academic paper published 37 years ago. Chua argued that the memristor was the fourth fundamental circuit element, along with the resistor, capacitor and inductor, and that it had properties that could not be duplicated by any combination of the other three elements."