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Hynix joins HP on memristors

Hynix joins HP on memristors

HP's "memristor" technology could be coming to market thanks to a partnership with Hynix.

Those of you with decent memories might be able to remember HP's announcement, way back in 2008, of a fourth circuit element dubbed the memristor which the company claimed would lead to a novel form of non-volatile memory capable of giving computers instant boot times. Well, we're a step closer to that reality thanks to a deal between HP and Hynix.

The memristor, short for "memory resistor," was originally developed in theory back in 1971 at the University of California at Berkeley, but it's taken until now for actual physical examples to appear.

HP, however, believes that it has cracked the issues surrounding the use of a completely novel circuit element and is ready to start developing its first commercial product: the ReRAM, or "Resistive Random Access Memory." In order to do so, it's teaming up with memory specialist Hynix to perform the actual manufacturing.

The companies believe that ReRAM could transform the way computers work: in HP's words, "ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that holds the potential to replace Flash memory currently used in mobile phones and MP3 players[, but that] it also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium - that is, [ReRAM] can behave as Flash, DRAM or even a hard drive."

HP has also worked out a way to make memristors perform logic operations, meaning that it is theoretically possible to develop a storage system capable of performing its own computation without having to bother the main system processor.

If the technology lives up to its expectations, and can actually make the transition from the lab to the market successfully, HP and Hynix could well have stolen a head start on the competition.

Do you believe that memristor technology is the future, or is the road to commercialisation longer than either HP or Hynix believe? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

7 Comments

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mclean007 1st September 2010, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
HP has also worked out a way to make memristors perform logic operations, meaning that it is theoretically possible to develop a storage system capable of performing its own computation without having to bother the main system processor.
That's intriguing - storage with built-in error checking / correction, encryption, etc. would be pretty incredible. I appreciate it's early days but if memristors come anywhere close to achieving their theoretical potential this could be game-changing in a few years' time.
Showerhead 1st September 2010, 13:14 Quote
Ha i was just about to post in the news about the new silicon oxide chips if we would ever see it citing memristors as an example of something we'd never heard about since. Proved me wrong.
BlackMage23 1st September 2010, 13:56 Quote
Well this was first announced in 2008 and still no working prototype at the moment, it sounds like they moving in the right direction with it but I would not expect to see a working prototype until 2012.
CharlO 1st September 2010, 15:34 Quote
I feel like a nerd thinking if this comes out I'll jizz.....
Taniniver 1st September 2010, 17:18 Quote
This stuff just blows my mind - not so much the product itself, but the fact that its existence was mathematically deduced long before they were ever able to actually make one. The Wikipedia article actually has some nice info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memristor

That kind of advanced maths is just beyond me, sadly!
Bakes 1st September 2010, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMage23
Well this was first announced in 2008 and still no working prototype at the moment, it sounds like they moving in the right direction with it but I would not expect to see a working prototype until 2012.

Considering they were originally proposed in 1971, the fact they've created them and are announcing business partnerships (ie are not pipe dreams) is pretty impressive.
HourBeforeDawn 2nd September 2010, 19:23 Quote
well I was hoping to see this tech take off so keepin my fingers crossed
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