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HP Labs Proves Existence of New Basic Element for Electronic Circuits - Memristor

Discussion in 'News' started by malware, May 1, 2008.

  1. malware New Member

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    HP today announced that researchers from HP Labs, the company’s central research facility, have proven the existence of what had previously been only theorized as the fourth fundamental circuit element in electrical engineering. This scientific advancement could make it possible to develop computer systems that have memories that do not forget, do not need to be booted up, consume far less power and associate information in a manner similar to that of the human brain.

    In a paper published in today’s edition of Nature, four researchers at HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Lab, led by R. Stanley Williams, presented the mathematical model and a physical example of a “memristor” – a blend of “memory resistor” – which has the unique property of retaining a history of the information it has acquired.

    Leon Chua, a distinguished faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department of 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.

    Building on their groundbreaking research in nanoelectronics, Williams and team are the first to prove the existence of the memristor.

    “To find something new and yet so fundamental in the mature field of electrical engineering is a big surprise, and one that has significant implications for the future of computer science,” said Williams. “By providing a mathematical model for the physics of a memristor, HP Labs has made it possible for engineers to develop integrated circuit designs that could dramatically improve the performance and energy efficiency of PCs and data centers.”

    One application for this research could be the development of a new kind of computer memory that would supplement and eventually replace today’s commonly used dynamic random access memory (DRAM). Computers using conventional DRAM lack the ability to retain information once they lose power. When power is restored to a DRAM-based computer, a slow, energy-consuming “boot-up” process is necessary to retrieve data from a magnetic disk required to run the system.

    In contrast, a memristor-based computer would retain its information after losing power and would not require the boot-up process, resulting in the consumption of less power and wasted time.

    This functionality could play a significant role as “cloud computing” becomes more prevalent. Cloud computing requires an IT infrastructure of hundreds of thousands of servers and storage systems. The memory and storage systems used by today’s cloud infrastructure require significant power to store, retrieve and protect the information of millions of web users worldwide.

    Memristor-based memory and storage has the potential to lower power consumption and provide greater resiliency and reliability in the face of power interruptions to a data center.
    Another potential application of memristor technology could be the development of computer systems that remember and associate series of events in a manner similar to the way a human brain recognizes patterns. This could substantially improve today’s facial recognition technology, enable security and privacy features that recognize a complex set of biometric features of an authorized person to access personal information, or enable an appliance to learn from experience.

    Williams is the founding director of HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Lab, which is focused on turning fundamental advances in areas of mathematics and physical science into technologies useful for HP. For the past 12 years, Williams and his team have conducted primary scientific research into the fundamental limits of information and computing, which has led to a series of breakthrough discoveries in nanoelectronics and nanophotonics.

    More information is available at http://www.hpl.hp.com/research/quantum_systems.html.

    Source: HP
     
  2. thoughtdisorder

    thoughtdisorder New Member

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    Kind of makes me think of "HAL". Anyone remember Hal 9000? >HAL< :eek:
     
  3. Squirrely

    Squirrely

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    This is quite interesting. It could really help with boot times, and current DRAM problems of loss of data when unpowered. With the memristor though, would they still need to refresh?

    A quote from Fudzilla (http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7118&Itemid=1):

    Quite a good comparasin, and it makes sense how it could be used effectively. :D
     
  4. evil bill New Member

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    Its not so much that it would just help with boot up times- it would do away with the process altogether. Your PC would just come back on to the exact same state it was at before your pressed "shutdown". Awesome.

    I dare say you could "flush" it if the data had become corrupted somehow.
     
  5. magibeg

    magibeg

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    I wonder how a viral code could manipulate these new transistors with memory. Imagine a virus getting onto one and secretly injecting its code into virtually everything that goes through it.
     
  6. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke

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    This could be a big step towards developing true AI.
     
  7. phanbuey

    phanbuey

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    Somebody in HP's marketing department is losing their mind right now...

    "We called it WHAT!?!?" (Head explodes)
     
  8. jbunch07

    jbunch07 New Member

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    this is very interesting... i agree with magibeg although im not sure if that would actually be possible but if it was then we would prob need to replace allot of hardware...at anyrate this is looks like a big leap in technology.
     
  9. a111087

    a111087

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    lol, didn't know that HP had a research team, but good job
     
  10. jbunch07

    jbunch07 New Member

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    now that i think about this more the word "skynet" rings a bell....
     
  11. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Ok looking at the small picture I see something amazing that can be done with games with this. We all have our own style of play. Some aggressive and some conservative. This never really changes because the "AI" in games are pretty much all the same. In the end they are all pretty predictable. Especially FPS.

    Now let say our hardware in the near future uses this new memristor to also track your style of play in every game. After a while it will be able to predict your next move just from your habit or "style". This would allow the game to run different scripts to cater to your particular style of play. No more mindless drones following you into dark hallways. No more sitting back and sniping everyone in the level and walking to the exit. Hell even bunny hopping would be brought to an end. I know this is small thinking but man no game would ever play or be the same......in theory.
     
  12. Exavier

    Exavier New Member

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    magibeg has a point..I mean, if we're using this for RAM technology, does anyone remember that program that reads your ram to find your login details? physical attacks would become nigh unstoppable, the RAM would never fully lose the data, even if turned off..
     
  13. lowflyer

    lowflyer New Member

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    So if we get a bad set of this memory could we say it has brain damage? Sorry guys I couldnt stop myself. I do think this is a huge step and almost scarry thinking of actual AI...
     
  14. pentastar111

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    Speaking of games and graphics...with memory of this type, coupled with multiple cored cpu's and gpu's...maybe we (the regular joes) can make the jump to Ray-Tracing and finally leave Rasterisation behind. :)
     
  15. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Who knows! Maybe we could finnaly run Crysis at its full settings too. :shadedshu
     
  16. Haytch

    Haytch New Member

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    We all know that A.I will be developed, if its not already developed yet maintained for now.
    I think we should strive to reach the ' Skynet ' stage of technology, having in mind ofcourse the outcome of the Terminator movies. We are smarter and more strategic, for now . . .

    Well done HP, keep up the research. This is a major breakthru in computer science.
     
  17. pentastar111

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    Here's an example of ray tracing
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLte5f34ya8 The power needed seems a bit much..and a bit complex...but then again this guy is creating the image...for those of us that just want to enjoy it for gaming, I think the configeration would be alot simpler and we could and should be able to "squeeze" everything into one PC. Considering that most "gaming" rigs are more powerful than a PS3, it's very possible...I could be wrong, but I don't think so...:D Memory such as this could literally blow the doors off of graphics as we see them today...moving photographs anyone?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  18. 1c3d0g

    1c3d0g

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    Huh?!? :twitch: Where have you been for the past decade? Besides IBM, HP operates one of the largest and most well-respected labs in the world. They conduct countless experiments every day and file over a thousand patent applications each year (many of them cover entirely different fields).
     
  19. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    So fundamental that they couldn't find a UNIQUE name for it? Dreadful. :ohwell:

    #1, I think the quote should be "...PASSIVE circuit element", otherwise there are things like transistors, and their derivatives, that would make that, not 4, but 5.. (or more).

    #2, isnt a diode a passive circuit element? So the "memristor" is the 5th. Perhaps the poor scientist is suffering a bit of memristorance, and forgot about the diode! :roll:
     
  20. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    Lol, I started thinking, uhoh, here comes AI, all the disaster movies could become reality!!! lol. I robot, Terminator, The Matrix ...

    But then again, Artificial Intelligence surely depends on something to think for itself and adapt on its own?

    All this memristor does is theoritcally provide a log with in it. Then all that happens when a program uses it is make decisions based on that log, and those descisions will have still been based on whatever the programmer has written.

    If I have interpretted this correctly, surely there is going to be a limit on how much data the memsistor can store. Infinite is impossible, (mind you theoritcally so is space, lol!)

    I would have thought that it maybe an advancement but I think it has huge potential for security flaws. Viruses and the like could hack into the memsistor and read its contents, imagine what could be on there!!!

    At least with the way things are now, if worse comes to worse, you yank the power wipe the hdd and they are gone. (unless you got a bios virus :( )

    To a certain extent I can't actually imagine what they would be good for,

    The post about games learning from your style could quite easily be done onto HDD's into a universal folder which all games could use.

    The thing is with electronics, silicon chips, etc. They are all of fixed size, once the hdd is full its full, when you have used all ur ram thats it. The CPU can only do a certain amount of calculations per second (even OC'd they all have a limit eventually).

    Now take the "intelligent" brain (of any being). It never runs out of "storage" space, if you keep using your brain and you get better at stuff (increase your calculations per second), or the amount of things you can do at the same time the, a computer cant do this, thats why I cant see true AI ever working on the electronics we've got now.

    I think the only possible way of AI even being a remote possibility is when they get to grips with Biochips...
     
  21. AphexDreamer

    AphexDreamer

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    Dude, I want this so bad. I am tired of the same old crap we are getting today, I'm ready for some change, I'm ready for Advancement!!
     
  22. effmaster

    effmaster New Member

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    Lets just hope this doesnt give computers a mind of their own now guys. I personally dont want a computer to have a mind of its own that would be scary as hell.
     
  23. jbunch07

    jbunch07 New Member

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    *cough*skynet*cough*
     
  24. Morgoth

    Morgoth

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    Skynet the moost advanced anti-virus system in the world that got access to miltary systems
    and who is the virus? we are.. :p

    it would be nice if the AI can do research in technolagy like
    Space tech
    Nanotech
    Laser tech
    Teleportation?
    Medical research
    weapons?
    Hardware
     
  25. jbunch07

    jbunch07 New Member

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    do your really want a computer in charge of stuff like that?
     

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