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Memristor Based RAM Could Be Out By 2009 142

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-shiny dept.
neural.disruption writes "According to the EETimes, HP is announcing that it 'plans to unveil RRAM prototype chips based on memristors with crossbar arrays in 2009.' I don't know if you remember the earlier story about HP Labs proving the existence of the Memristor that had been predicted in 1971 by Leon Chua, and has the nice property of maintaining a memory of the current that passes by it. This could bring us a new type of small non-volatile high-speed RAM at low cost because of the low complexity of the mechanism employed."
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Memristor Based RAM Could Be Out By 2009

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  • Security Concerns (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:08PM (#24158889)

    It seems like this will make recovering encryption keys from RAM much easier. If I understand the article correctly, these devices won't automatically clear themselves or decay like conventional RAM. I'm not quite sure I want this thing in my computer until this gets worked out.

    • by neokushan (932374) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:12PM (#24158933)

      True, it's probably not a good idea to have ALL your memory as this stuff, but why not have say, the core OS files (The ones that wont contain any important, private data) stored in this type of memory for that near-instant-on effect? In theory, the OS could stay in RAM and just do a quick verification check to make sure it's not damaged/corrupted in some way (and since it's ALREADY in RAM, it should be lightning quick) and then reload any files that have been, then boom, you're at your desktop in a matter of seconds.
      Plus, I doubt it'll actually be as fast as regular RAM anyway, that would be too good to be true, so chances are we'll just see this as a companion to good ol' DDR3/4/WhateverExistsAtTheTime.

      It would certainly benefit the likes of embedded devices, set-top boxes and such that are starting to really take the piss with their multi-minute startup times.

      • Re:Security Concerns (Score:4, Informative)

        by AllIGotWasThisNick (1309495) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:26PM (#24159099)

        near-instant-on effect

        Now if only disk IO was actually the major delay in the boot process. You might consider driver initialization, software initialization, network delays, waiting for user interaction, etc.

        • by Smidge204 (605297) on Friday July 11, 2008 @07:00PM (#24159391) Journal

          Unless, of course, you're waking a computer out of hibernate mode... then it's pretty much all about disk I/O throughput.

          If this were possible, it could basically become unnecessary to actually *shut down* your computer.

          More importantly, if you suddenly lose (or switch off) power it might be possible to simply pick up where you left off - with some minor firmware tweaks to get the hardware running again without wiping RAM.
          =Smidge=

          • Isn't that called Suspend-To-RAM? I admit that power savings is power savings, so I'm all for it, but let us not pretend this is some new breakthrough for the PC or anything that can generate a TV output for more than a few minutes (i.e. non battery devices). This is really all about embedded/notebook battery longevity, no?
            • Re:Security Concerns (Score:4, Informative)

              by Smidge204 (605297) on Friday July 11, 2008 @08:06PM (#24159961) Journal

              The difference is current RAM needs to be maintained. Suspend to RAM doesn't help in a power outage and/or dead battery condition.

              Otherwise yes, they're pretty much the same thing.
              =Smidge=

              • power outage

                Good call. This could definitely replace a 30-second UPS for convenience, assuming it ever becomes fast/dense enough. Flash would seem to do this already -- do you know if Vista's flash memory extension allow it to simply suspend to flash?

          • Not quite... (Score:2, Insightful)

            by goldsaturn (1220086)
            "If this were possible, it could basically become unnecessary to actually *shut down* your computer." Updating your computer is almost complete. You must restart your computer for the effects to take effect. Do you want to restart your computer now?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Repossessed (1117929)

            I am the only one thinking of the nightmare that making suspend default in Vista has caused? Get it to work at the software level first please.

        • by neokushan (932374)

          I'm curious, I always assumed that the main Bottleneck WAS the Hard drive. Do the things you mentioned really add that much time to the startup of a computer?
          My computer's hard drive gets heavily accessed right up to when I see the desktop, surely having the system already in RAM would cut down startup times significantly?

          • It would cut it down a lot, but a significant amount of the boot process is timeouts waiting for devices/services etc to finish initialising. The hard drive is still being accessed by other processes as multiple tasks load at the same time to reduce the effects of waiting for timeouts. Reducing the need to access the disk during boot will require a rethink to paralleling the boot process.
        • by lawpoop (604919)

          You might consider driver initialization, software initialization, network delays, waiting for user interaction, etc.

          Wouldn't you only have to do this once? Initialize drivers and all that? After all, when you turn the computer 'off', the memory stays. No need to load anything on boot, because it's already there in memory.

          • by x2A (858210)

            No, devices have their own internal state that needs to be initialised and configured, irqs 'n memory mapped IO registers set, possibly have firmware loaded into its memory, and maybe detect what subdevices are attached to it. You can't expect a device to be in the same state when you power it up as it was when you cut power to it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by miro f (944325)

              couldn't you then conceivably use the same non-volatile RAM in the device memory?

              • by x2A (858210)

                You could, but you couldn't always trust that every device attached has this memory, or that nothing has changed while the machine has been off (maybe a failed drive has been swapped out, or a usb pendrive has been unplugged as someone realised they needed it but didn't power back up the machine to unplug it). You're much better off scanning the busses than just hoping the hardware hasn't changed and writing to what was there and hoping it's safe (embedded machines may of course be different if you've desig

                • by wellingj (1030460)
                  No different that today's current suspend...
                  • by x2A (858210)

                    Not really no, but device initialisation can still be done fairly quickly, avoiding the whole saving/restoring RAM to disc is still a massive saving.

          • by gmack (197796)

            The problem with this is that when the device is on it's alerting the OS to any changes.

            When it comes back online it still needs to rescan the USB check network connectivity (and get it's IP again) etc.

        • why _Does_ it have to take so long?

          naively, it seems that all you'd need to do to recover state after hibernation would be to repopulate the ram. So the time to load 3gigs of memory from disk to ram should be your wake-up time.

          what else _has_ to happen before I can start using my pc?

          (e.g. I'm happy for my network connection to take a couple of extra seconds to negotiate a lease from my router after I start work)

      • by bersl2 (689221)

        Or you could probably have the OS zero out all memory, or just those physical memory frames for whose pages have been marked as needing to be erased (would require application changes, but that wouldn't be the first time).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296)

        In theory, the OS could stay in RAM and just do a quick verification check to make sure it's not damaged/corrupted in some way

        Reminds me of letting Col. Clink check on the prisoners. Letting the OS "integrity check" itself is an amusing thought and a very, very bad idea.

        then boom, you're at your desktop in a matter of seconds.

        We get this pipe dream every few years - people talking about the "instant-on" computer. Sleep modes, wake modes, hibernation, etc.

        I have an idea: grow a few seconds' worth of patience

        • by Symb (182813)

          Carmudgeon :) I _like_ the idea of persistent state. All the goods of leaving the computer on with less energy consumption (of course the fab plant for memristors will probably destroy the environment worse). There seem to be all kinds of fun ideas and paradigm shifts to explore when it comes mainstream.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          what are you talkin here....there's already an instant on OS provided via motherboard [cnet.com].

          The rest, I agree: integrity check = bad idea. I disagree that for whatever reason long bootup times should just be considered acceptable.

          For reference's sake: it only starts at a minute, it ends at multiple minutes after patches, changes, etc. especially on windows and consoles. Not so much on linux.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by neokushan (932374)

          I like how you've immediately assumed that I'm simply impatient just because YOU'VE never experienced what I'm referring to.
          I notice in the list of electronic devices you have, none of them are Satellite/Cable boxes or Tivo-like devices.
          I have one such device, it's a Cable box with a hard drive built into it and it takes a solid 2-3mins to start up.
          Sure, that's not a big deal, it doesn't really bother me that much since I'm only missing 2-3mins of crap TV, but what does bother me is that the people who make

          • My "digital" cable box doesn't even have a hard drive but if the power goes down for any reason, it can take upwards of five minutes to reboot. If memristor RAM could fix that, I'm all for it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by mcmonkey (96054)

          For reference's sake...

          I'd mod you up, but I can't find "+1 Get off my lawn"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          OS check on power-on would be plenty safe for error checking purposes. It is a pretty basic application of checksumming. In theory, it could fail; but the odds are vanishingly small.

          Against malice, I agree, not useful. Of course, if the attacker has arbitrary read/write access to the nonvolatile RAM, it is game over, period. The logical solution would be to move control over the nonvolatile RAM to the system hardware. Just as the BIOS can restrict the system's choice of boot devices, it could lock or unlo
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Microlith (54737)

          I have an idea: grow a few seconds' worth of patience.

          It's not a matter of patience, it's a matter of eliminating a needlessly slow bottleneck on a system.

          To expand upon the GP's point, if you could take 100GB of this stuff and slap it into your memory space you'd never, really, have to hit the hard disk for applications again. This does two things:

          - Frees up your DRAM for things that actually change frequently.
          - Frees up your hard disk which should be holding things that need long term storage, not executi

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by drinkypoo (153816)
            You can also use it to get a recoverable ramdisk, recoverable disk cache, et cetera. Just imagine rebooting and still having files in cache. Your computer could preload for the boot at shutdown time, so you'd get the benefits of a cold boot, and a preload.
        • by merreborn (853723) on Friday July 11, 2008 @07:47PM (#24159799) Journal

          We get this pipe dream every few years - people talking about the "instant-on" computer. Sleep modes, wake modes, hibernation, etc.

          I have an idea: grow a few seconds' worth of patience.

          Hear, hear! I don't even know why they bothered developing processors after the 386, or anything faster than 1200 baud modems. They worked fine, it's just these damn kids were too impatient to wait 15 hours to download 50 megs, or 3 hours to render a single frame of Doom 3.

          Now they want computers to boot faster? I happen to *like* the fact that it takes 15 minutes to get Vista up and running. Gives me a chance to take a nap, or brew some coffee.

          • by Moryath (553296)

            Now they want computers to boot faster? I happen to *like* the fact that it takes 15 minutes to get Vista up and running.

            I don't. That's why I stuck with XP. I'm twice as fast as a Vista machine on half the hardware.

            Hear, hear! I don't even know why they bothered developing processors after the 386, or anything faster than 1200 baud modems. They worked fine, it's just these damn kids were too impatient to wait 15 hours to download 50 megs, or 3 hours to render a single frame of Doom 3.

            There's a difference b

            • by x2A (858210) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:04AM (#24161675)

              "Managing to shave 5 seconds off boot? Not so much so, especially since it offers no other concrete advantages once you're booted"

              What if you're a kernel, or bootloader developer? Saving 5 out of 20 seconds boot time means you're spending 25% less time waiting while you're testing. And that was just off the top of my head!

              "we're back to having to load that memory check routine from another source"

              That's really not that big a deal.

              "of the most popular pipe dreams of these ideas? Do we have a set of checks for each file in there? Where did we store it? How long will it take to check it? Are we recalculating it constantly on the fly...?"

              Um... ZFS? End to end checksumming? Pipe dream? Just because you've not heard of it being done, doesn't make it magic.

              "might as well just keep its system state on a pair of revolving images on the hard disk anyways" ...because harddrives don't fail or need to be checked?

              • Your sig is broken. If you lose a game of chess against a better opponent, you can't exactly find it again.

                • by x2A (858210)

                  And if you lose your virginity you can neither find or win it back. Welcome to the world of "a word can have more than one meaning"; my point still stands.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by miro f (944325)

              Managing to shave 5 seconds off boot? Not so much so, especially since it offers no other concrete advantages once you're booted.

              If boot times can be dropped to a couple of seconds people will be less likely to leave their computers on for hours while away from their desks, just for the convenience of it.

              Not to mention that it won't only be boot time, but possible load times of other software and files that is improved as well.

          • You forgot the obligatory now get off my lawn! ;-)

        • the uverse set top box seems to take about 5 minutes to fully boot up...

        • Reminds me of letting Col. Clink check on the prisoners. Letting the OS "integrity check" itself is an amusing thought and a very, very bad idea.

          I'd be curious to find out how you think operating systems bootstrap themselves currently.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by epp_b (944299)
          You forgot the "get off my lawn!" part at the end of your comment.

          Seriously, get over yourself. Instant-on computing isn't just something we want because we're impatient. It's very convenient and productive.

          I've stopped shutting my computer down every night in favour of using standby mode. Particularly on a laptop, it works very well. It takes two seconds to go into standby where it's drawing just enough power (read: almost nothing) to retain the data in memory. Then, in the morning when I bring
        • I have an idea: grow a few seconds' worth of patience.

          But if you're sitting in a meeting with your laptop, you want to be able to wake it up quickly. Otherwise, you have to leave it on the whole time and drain the battery. Same goes for any laptop where use is intermittent. The more responsive you can make the system, the more often you can let it go to sleep and save power. That could be beneficial for device size, battery life, or even carbon footprint if talking about desktop systems or low-use servers.

        • by FLAGGR (800770)
          Why exactly would a self integrity test be bad? It works like this:
          1) You click the button to put the computer to sleep. It stops doing stuff.
          2) A program scans the RAM, making a hash of what is in it (this is the *only* thing running, and ignores its own allocated RAM. Also, maybe it would only hash the important OS stuff?)
          3) It writes the hash to disk (er, I guess now it would be ok to write it to RAM instead)
          4) Computer is shut down
          5) Computer is started up. Before the OS in general starts, the veri
      • Imagine your proprietary OS comes in RAM (separate from user RAM). They use the GPL2 firmware loophole to goat you like tivo did with the linux kernel. Sure you have the source, but you can't meaningfully modify the image.

      • Well you can always clean it before shutdown, it should be fast and I doubt its easy to recover from that, as for the speed I don't see how can a memory made from discrete components be slower than a circuit, its just a matter of time and miniaturization also no-one can complain about the price, its far more expensive to use MOSFETs to make a bit.

        Also being able of keeping a memory of the current that passed it I wonder if it can be of good use in making neural networks(the non-simulated type).

    • by BagOBones (574735)

      Since it is ALREADY a problem with conventional RAM, it will only make the issue a little worse.

      Security and encryption software could be written in such a way that before memory is freed is is randomized.

      I am sure it could be added to the OS layer of memory management as well so that all free memory gets randomized.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So don't let people have physical access to your computer. Or invest in a thermite/C4 charge inside your computer. Or both.
      • by Spatial (1235392)
        But where would you put the charge? Oh, I know - C4 is pliable, it can be disguised as thermal compound! Be tidy though, it detonates when electrified...
    • by mo (2873)

      Wow, that's a good point. And since it actually stores it's bits in an analog storage medium, you could in theory recover data from the memristors even after they've been written over, just like they do with magnetic drives.

    • by nobodyman (90587)

      It's not necessarily a RAM replacement. I for one would love a SSHD that was as fast as(or perhaps slightly slower than) main system RAM.

    • by sennyk (1046330)
      If you are worried about key recovery, then you should only run FIPS approved software. I'm surprised that any open source developer would not clear keys after use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You know I've posted this on /. like three or four times now and you'd think it'd be more common knowledge by now... but getting encryption keys from RAM is pretty trivial. It's called a cold boot attack.

      http://citp.princeton.edu/memory/ [princeton.edu]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_boot_attack [wikipedia.org]

      This attack was sort of one that was under the hat of pentesters and hobbyists until a few months ago when it was rather a do-it-yourself thing, but then McGrew Security made a followup PoC - http://mcgrewsecurity.com/projec [mcgrewsecurity.com]
    • by Nullav (1053766)

      So what about clearing it on shutdown?

    • How is this any different than keeping your data a USB drive - or a magnetic hard drive?

      The only reason we have 'drives' vs. 'ram' is because of the limitations in storage in the past.

      There doesn't have to be a difference - other than virtual - to separate the various uses of memory.

      I personally like the idea of 'instant on' - being able to power up and have the system within a millisecond or two - back in the state I left it in. Additionally - you could use the 'data disk' just like ram - so you could ski

  • by oneal13rru (1322741) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:09PM (#24158899) Journal
    well, I'm certainly glad my RAM will stop exploding inside my PC on a daily basis... driving me insane!!!
    • Am I the only one who saw "Mr Resistor" [google.com] in the title?

      (No it isn't a goatse link, and it's not a RickRoll)

  • Flash Killer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:16PM (#24158973)

    If this stuff actually works as promised, it will be way faster and longer-lived (in terms of write cycles) than flash. 50nS is pretty slow compared to DRAM, but for flash replacement it should be pretty zippy. Especially if there's no need to do block erase and rewrites.

    • by Stanistani (808333) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:21PM (#24159057) Homepage Journal

      I'm still holding out for isolinear chips.

      • Pah. We upgraded to those centuries ago. What are you using, Duotronic systems? Come on man. Get with the future times.

        Signed,
        Ortega-Starfire
        Former/Future science officer, U.S.S. Relativity

        • by jd (1658)
          Isolinear? Isolinear??! When you could be running Tarriel Cell technology?
        • by Moryath (553296)

          Just don't let anyone with a head cold near your precious neural gel-paks, or else your doctor will have the whole crew running around injecting the computer's network systems with theraflu cold/sinus every 4 hours.

          Plus, it's a bitch when the computer controlling the engines sneezes.

        • We upgraded to those centuries ago. What are you using, Duotronic systems?

          I tried upgrading to Multitronics, but my computer refused to accept that the games I was playing were just games. It became paranoid and tried to kill my online opponents in real life.

          Luckily, I managed to convince it that murder was immortal, and it committed suicide before killing anyone important.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jd (1658)
      I always thought the industry was too conservative to allow chips to Flash. Seriously, this is going to have serious potential in the solid-state disk arena, but will probably not affect firmware and BIOSes as you don't update or access those a vast amount. For SSDs, you really want this for the bulk storage but battery-backed RAM for transaction logging and caching as you don't need those to be longer-lived than the time it needs to complete a full transaction.

      (Ideally, you'd have battery-backed "smart R

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Seriously, this is going to have serious potential in the solid-state disk arena, but will probably not affect firmware and BIOSes as you don't update or access those a vast amount.

        It can potentially make them much cheaper, because a memristor is a simpler element.

  • by default luser (529332) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:16PM (#24158979) Journal

    They've been saying they'll give us affordable NVRAM without the drawbacks of flash for years, and it still hasn't happened.

    MRAM - fast, but not as fast as DRAM. Very low-density.
    PRAM - more volatile than flash, because it can change state spontaneously based on temperature (thermally written).
    FeRAM - can't be made with cutting-edge processes, and even then can't match the density of flash.
    CBRAM - still experimental.

    I'll just be surprised if HP can just produce a memory module that is as fast a DRAM, let alone as high-capacity as flash.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dwedit (232252)

      MRAM does exist, it replaces battery backed 32KB SRAM chips.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm currently using Magneto-RAM [freescale.com] in a project. I'm also interested in the development of Carbon Nanotube-based NRAM from Nantero [nantero.com]. Density is more important than speed for most NV storage applications. Unless the cost structure and density changes substantially vs Flash ROM, these types of exotic NV RAMs are going to be useful only in situations that require a lot of write accesses: like storing the directory info for a cheaper/larger Flash-ROM array which can't support as many write cycles. Even in these
    • by mo (2873) on Friday July 11, 2008 @07:35PM (#24159711)

      Every single example you list above is based on the transistor. Sure, there's lots of variations (MRAM using magnets, PRAM using chalcogenide glass, FeRAM using a ferroelectric layer, etc.), but these are all basically: glue stuff on a transistor to store data.

      Memristor-based RRAM is different. It doesn't use transistors at all. This is truly a departure from all of the exsting RAM technologies, and while the prospect of RRAM storage is pretty cool, the possibility of analog computing using memristors is even neater. I'm cautiously optimistic that this technology is going to take computing in some interesting directions.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bender_ (179208)

        Sorry, but that is bullshit.

        CBRAM, PRAM and RRAM are generally based on two terminal devices that are written at a high current and read at a low current.

        For all of those there are two ways of arranging them into an array: A passive matrix with diodes or an active matrix with transistors. The former is slightly simpler to make but suffers from scalability issues.

        The reason why HP made a passive matrix is simply because they don't own a fab capable of producing dense memory. This is nothing but a research to

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The mechanics of how these work make producing compact high speed arrays easy.

      The circuit element is just two stacked planar layers between an underlying and overhead wire. Look at the electron microscope images to see what a row of them looks like... they're no bigger than the contact areas of the wires. A chip of these would be a grid of vertical wires, the active layers, then a grid of horizontal layers. The packing density is approximately wire spacing density.

      Speed is good - you send a moderate volt

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Technically, he predicted the existence of a non-linear memristor. A linear memristor is exactly the same thing as regular resistor.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Technically, he predicted the existence of a non-linear memristor. A linear memristor is exactly the same thing as regular resistor.

      Actually you are wrong, it has nothing to do with what you've said.
      The resistance of a memristor changes with current and direction of the current. It will increase when it flows one way and decrease otherwise.
      A resistor has always the same resistance(with a small margin of error)regardless the direction of the current and the current.
      A linear memristor would be some memristor that would increase and decrease the resistance in a linear way that has nothing to do with resistors.

  • If only my memory weren't so volatile, I'd remember to buy HP stock as soon as I hear that memristor memory will perform as well as current DDR-RAM.
  • Low cost? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snl2587 (1177409) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:46PM (#24159271)
    An emerging technology being offered at low cost? I highly doubt it. Not that it isn't a simple mechanism (at least according to the article), but I can't imagine anyone selling them for less than the cost of standard RAM...at least, not for a few years or heavy adoption.
    • Agreed. It doesn't matter how little it costs them to make, they'll charge big bucks for it as long as they can. I wouldn't be surprised if it was introduced at double the current going price of RAM of equal capacity.
  • Patents (Score:5, Funny)

    by tobiasly (524456) on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:49PM (#24159297) Homepage
    I'm sure it's already patented by Rambus.
  • No commercial applications until 2018. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • by ejamie (765128)
      Actually, the initial non-volative applications are expected to arrive in 2009. It is the second--and I think more interesting--application of the technology that is 5-10 years out... Specifically, memresistors with "tunable resistance" that are expected to be used in neural network applications:

      It will also use a similar crossbar architecture to harness precise resistance change in an analog circuit. HP Labs claims that massive memristor arrays with tunable resistance at each crossbar could enable brain-l

    • Before anyone mods parent as informative, a quote from the article (near the end):

      "RRAMs are our near term goal, but our second target for memristors, in the long term, is to transform computing by building adaptive control circuits that learn," said Stewart. "Analog circuits using electronic synapses will require at least five more years of research."

      So they're looking at future applications where devices would store 'gray scale' type of information, as opposed to 'black & white' that's used in current computer-style devices. 'Black & white' type devices should be out somewhere next year, and I doubt it will take a giant like HP long to go from prototype to commercial devices.

    • TFA says that digital memristor products will be out much sooner than the analog "synapse emulating" circuits. It seems you're trolling or confused the two.

  • Buy a Tandy MC-10 or CoCo 2/3, or a Commodore 64/128. They boot under a second.

  • HP Labs claims that massive memristor arrays with tunable resistance at each crossbar could enable brain-like learning. In the brain, a synapse is strengthened whenever current flows through it, similar to the way resistance is lowered by flowing current through a memristor. Such neural networks could learn to adapt by allowing current to flow in either direction as needed.

    "RRAMs are our near term goal, but our second target for memristors, in the long term, is to transform computing by building adaptive

  • If new memory technology actually increased a mere 1% for each story slashdot has posted regarding it, then memory would be petabytes in a single tiny chip that used essentially no power by now.

    (ok, sorry, I based this upon http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=611631&cid=24158367 [slashdot.org], which I had read just a few minutes before.. but both kinds of stories do show up very often -- though I'm not complaining.)

  • Great! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Datamonstar (845886) on Friday July 11, 2008 @09:08PM (#24160451)
    I need more RRRAM in my PPPowerBook!
  • ... to be a bit difficult to pronounce?

    Every time I say the word out loud, it sounds like I'm slightly slurring the words "memory stir", which I'm pretty sure is wrong.

    I think it's the 'm' immediately followed by an 'r' that makes it a bit awkward... are there any other english words that have this particular trait?

  • Hello! 75 comments in already and no one mentions the most interesting part about this article. Analog circuits that learn, in five years!!!! Am I missing something? Isn't this huge for AI research? I'm serious. I am a layman but, this brings to my mind many additional benefits than "instant on" computers. How about computers that think and learn like we do? Also, an analog memristor could hold more than two values. Wouldn't this mean HUGE memory densities would be available? Are these ideas ridiculous or i
    • Your exactly right! A memristor should be able to simulate a complex neural-network. I don't know about strong A.I, but I can see how these could scale to millions of connections.
    • ...could be interesting, depending on the signal to noise ratio when these things are used to store non-saturated resistance values. Especially if it can be controlled in steps of 256 (8 bits per cell), 65536 (16 bits per cell), etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by calidoscope (312571)
      And to think that my first analog circuits class was taught by prof Leon Chua...
  • Information about... (Score:5, Informative)

    by neural.disruption (1290844) on Friday July 11, 2008 @09:56PM (#24160787)
    Memristors and how they work: HP Labs Memristor FAQ. [hp.com]
  • Has had instant-on for years.

    The reason why laptops and desktops don't have instant-on is because nobody cares. Vista users expect a PC to take 15 minutes to boot; when it doesn't, they think something is wrong.

    Instant on for laptops is as simple as suspend... Granted, it's crap shoot as to whether any particular laptop and OS combination will get it right, but it is possible in theory. It's even easier with desktops - the thing is plugged into the wall - drawing a few milliamps to keep the RAM refr

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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