In the 18 months since the “missing link of electronics” was discovered in Hewlett-Packard’s laboratories in Silicon Valley, California, memristors have spawned a hot new area of physics and raised hope of electronics becoming more like brains. […]
Memristors behave a bit like resistors, which simply resist the flow of electric current. But rather than only respond to present conditions, a memristor can also “remember” the last current it experienced.
That’s an ability that would usually require many different components. “Each memristor can take the place of 7 to 12 transistors,” says Stan Williams, head of HP’s memristor research. What’s more, it can hold its memory without power. By contrast, “transistors require power at all times and so there is a significant power loss through leakage currents”, Williams explains. […]
The similarities between memristive circuits and the behaviour of some simple organisms suggests the hybrid devices could also open the way for “neuromorphic” computing, says Williams, in which computers learn for themselves, like animals.
(Via Chris 23)