Sunday, May 04, 2008

Computer Breakthrough May Power Next-Gen Artificial Intelligence

Hewlett-Packard researchers have created a working "memristor," that's a super-tiny "electrical resistor with memory properties," reports the NY Times.

What's incredible about this chip is it breaks the binary barrier. Computer processors have been limited to story data in 1s and 0s, but the memristor (pretty lame name) can store a "vast array of intermediate values," which "allows them to function like biological synapses and makes them ideal for many artificial intelligence applications."

Memristors were predicted in 1971 by University of California electrical engineer, Leon Chua. Pound360 wonders whether or not the honorable Mr. Chua has kids. If so, we hope for their sake the mother named them.

The initial crop of working memristors are about 15 namometers in size, but they may shrink to four nanometers in time. That's pretty small, people. For reference, an atom is about .1 nonometers.

Will we see memristor-charged robots in the home anytime soon? Well, the good news is that "they can be made in the same kinds of semiconductor factories that the chip industry now uses." However, they're still pretty slow. Slower than conventional memory chips.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.