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August 31, 2010

HP Collaborates with Hynix to Bring the Memristor to Market in Next-generation Memory

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HP today announced that it has entered into a joint development agreement with Hynix Semiconductor Inc., a world-leading memory supplier, to bring memristor, a new circuit element first intentionally demonstrated in HP Labs, to market in future memory products Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (HSI) of Icheon, Korea, is the world’s top tier memory semiconductor supplier offering Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (DRAMs), Flash memory chips (NAND Flash) and CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) for a wide range of distinguished customers globally.

* The two companies will jointly develop new materials and process integration technology to transfer the memristor technology from research to commercial development in the form of Resistive Random Access Memory (ReRAM). Hynix will implement the memristor technology in its research and development fab.
* 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. It also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium – that is, memory that can behave as Flash, DRAM or even a hard drive.
* One of the first goals will be to create a computer you can “turn on and off like a light bulb

EETimes has more details on the terms of the HP-Hynix agreement. It is non-exclusive.

FeRAM, MRAM, phase-change and ReRAM are next-generation memory technologies. ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that holds the potential to replace flash memory; it also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium – that is, memory that can behave as flash, DRAM or even a hard drive, according to HP. End-user products based on ReRAMs are due out by the end of 2013, Williams said. ''This is a darkhorse technology,'' Williams said. ''We think this will break out of the pack.


MIT Techonology Review also has coverage




Benefits of Memristors

Laboratory trials conducted at HP Labs have shown that memristor ReRAM circuits require less energy to operate, are faster, and have higher endurance than Flash, and these advantages are anticipated to increase into the future.

Since memristors are based on a thin film technology, the memory elements can be easily stacked on top of each other, and thus more bits can be built onto a single chip. They also are virtually immune to interference from ionizing radiation – making them attractive for inclusion in ever-smaller but ever-more-powerful devices.

Still, the memristor is a relatively recent discovery and new properties are yet to be found.

Research from the HP Labs IQSL team published earlier this year showed that, in addition to acting as memory devices, memristors can also perform logic functions. This suggests that computation might eventually be performed where data is stored, something that could result in computers running significantly faster than at present since data will not have to be passed around among multiple chips.

Two memristor can mimic the Hebbian learning of the synapse.

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