Feeds

HP's Memristor tech - better than flash?

It will be, says HP

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

HP will claim today to have pushed Memristor technology to equal the switching speed and endurance shown by current NAND flash cells.

The Memristor or memory resistor is said to be a fundamental electrical circuit element, along with the resistor, capacitor and inductor. Its electrical state remains unaltered between a device being switched on and off - just like flash memory, for which it is a follow-on candidate. In this it competes with Phase-Change Memory (PCM). Once NAND flash runs out of process shrinkage room it stops working reliably and new technology is needed.

HP implemented the first Memristor device in 2008 and said it might have a working prototype in 2009. It has since claimed to have found a way to build three-dimensional Memristor devices, with 2D switch arrays stacked on top of each other like chip towers, to build relatively huge capacity devices.

HP is expected to reveal it has increased Memristor switching speed and endurance to that seen in current NAND flash cells, the New York Times reports. The company thinks it can do even better and scale the technology to far lower process geometries than flash. It is working on 3nm Memristors that switch at one nanosecond. Today's most advanced flash is transitioning to 25nm process geometries. The next level is thought to lie in the 24-20nm area, potentially with a 19-15nm follow-on. Problems are then expected to mount as flash's operational reliability could be compromised.

However, flash density could be increased by upping the cell count in multi-layer cells (MLC). Two-bit flash is common now, three bit is coming and SanDisk has four-bit MLC patents. But flash write performance and endurance slows as more bits are added to cells, and flash controllers have to overcome this obstacle to make 3X and 4X MLC flash usable.

HP thinks it can build a competing Memristor device with a density of 20GB/sq cm to flash chips by 2013, which it reckons will be double what flash can do. HP thinks Memristor technology is better than PCM as well, since PCM involves heating cells to change their physical state - requiring more power - and has a slower switching speed.

If HP is right and it can actually build Memristor chips in large capacities and large numbers and at an acceptable price, then it could blow Numonyx, Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk's flash businesses and PCM follow-on efforts to blazes, and make a killing in license fees.

HP scientists are also claiming that the human brain uses quasi-Memoristor equivalents, so HP could build a Memristor-based brain that could learn and do human stuff. This could well be hot air - the brain's operations have been likened to most technology advances before and every single one has been shown to be inadequate.

For now the best known way to create a human brain is to start with two humans, one man and one woman, and bring them into conjunction. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?