Hewlett-Packard scientists on Thursday will report advances demonstrating significant progress in the design of a new class of diminutive switches capable of replacing transistors as computer chips shrink toward the atomic scale.
The devices, known as memristors, or memory resistors, were first conceived in 1971 by Leon O. Chua, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, but they were not put in effect until 2008 at the H.P. lab here. They are simpler than today’s semiconducting transistors, can store information even in the absence of an electrical current and, according to the new report in Nature, can be used for both data processing and storage applications.
The researchers previously reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had devised a new method for storing and retrieving information from a vast three-dimensional array of memristors. The scheme could potentially free designers to stack thousands of switches on top of one another in a high-rise fashion, permitting a new class of ultra-dense computing devices even after two-dimensional scaling reaches fundamental limits.
From The New York Times
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