I recently read a novelette by Bruce Sterling called Black Swan (A Cyberpunk Story). I was intrigued by what Sterling referred to as a “Memrister”. Within the context of the story, it was only clear that memristors were theoretical electronic devices with a lot of potential applications. After doing some research, I found out that Memristors are, in fact, real, and that they may profoundly impact the future of computing.

According to Wikipedia, “Memristor theory was formulated and named by Leon Chua in a 1971 paper.[4] In 2008, a team at HP Labs announced the development of a switching memristor based on a thin film of titanium dioxide.[5] These devices are being developed for application in nanoelectronic memories, computer logic, and neuromorphic computer architectures. In October 2011, the same team announced the commercial availability of memristor technology within 18 months, as a replacement for Flash, SSD, DRAM and SRAM. [7]”

Apparently memristors have the capacity to start up and shut down computers as if you were flicking a light switch on and off. And one unique characteristic of this technology is that, “Memristance of a material become more and more strong as its size reduces,” which means it may be most valuable in nanotechnology.

Once HP finishes its work on the commercial availability of memristor technology, it will be exciting to learn more about the useful applications that memristors can provide all of us.