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HP touts memristor development, bleak future for transistors

Vlad Savov
04.08.10
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Silicon transistors are the stuff all our dreams of android sheep are made of, but there will ultimately be a limit to how many of them you can squish together inside a processing chip. The progressive avoidance of physical limitations by moving to yet more minuscule dimensions is admirable, but some folks at HP seem to believe the answer lies in a whole different technology. The company has been talking to the New York Times about its memristor (memory resistor) development, which promises to perform both data processing and storage tasks (even without an electrical charge), while also being capable of stacking in a three-dimensional array that would allow for vast scaling potential down the line. Promises for the future include a three nanometer memristor that can switch on and off in a nanosecond, as well as a 20GB per square centimeter memory density that we might expect to arrive within three years. If we believe the dudes in the white coats, that is. The important thing is that memristor-based storage has already been tested to successfully perform "hundreds of thousands" of read and write operations without failing, so the potential is indeed there. Now we just need a bit of luck and a smidgen of patience.

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