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Another sign of the apocalypse, it looks like HP has taken another step toward a scene out of The Matrix. The below article is from TechNewsWorld.com and it details HP’s discovery of a potential 4th fundamental circuit element that has the ability to remember information.

For those of you that remember electrical engineering from your college years, you know that there are three fundamental circuit elements (resistor, capacitor, inductor). HP’s development of the “memristor” is supposedly the first circuit element that can remember information.

Check out a sample of the article below and give us your thoughts.

Credit: TechNewsWorld.com

Researchers at HP Labs have proven the existence of the “memristor,” a component of electrical circuits that could lead to computer systems with memories that never forget, the company announced Wednesday.

The memristor — short for “memory resistor” — was previously only theorized to be the fourth fundamental circuit element in electrical engineering. In the April 30 edition of the journal Nature, however, HP (NYSE: HPQ) researchers presented both a mathematical model and a physical example of one.

Consuming far less power than current systems, computers based on the memristor would not need to be booted up and could associate information in a way much the way the human brain does.

‘Significant Implications’

“To find something new and yet so fundamental in the mature field of electrical engineering is a big surprise, and one that has significant implications for the future of computer science,” said R. Stanley Williams, the lead researcher on the work from HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Lab.

“By providing a mathematical model for the physics of a memristor, HP Labs has made it possible for engineers to develop integrated-circuit designs that could dramatically improve the performance and energy efficiency of PCs anddata centers,” Williams added.

Decades-Old Theory

The existence of the memristor was actually first proposed back in the early 1970s by Leon Chua, a distinguished faculty member in the University of California at Berkeley’s electrical engineering and computer sciences department.

Chua argued that the memristor joined the resistor, capacitor and inductor as the fourth fundamental circuit element, and that it had properties that could not be duplicated by any combination of the other three elements.

One application for HP’s new research could be the development of a new kind of computer memory that would supplement and eventually replace today’s commonly used dynamic random access memory (DRAM), HP said.

Computers that use DRAM can’t retain information when they lose power, and must go through a slow, energy-consuming boot-up process to retrieve data from a magnetic disk required to run the system. Memristor-based computers, on the other hand, would be able to “remember” their information after losing power and would save both power and time by not requiring the boot-up process.

Cloud Potential

Such capabilities could be particularly significant as cloud computing becomes more prevalent, HP noted, since the memory and storage systems used by current cloud infrastructures require significant power to store, retrieve and protect the information of millions of Web users worldwide.

“I’m terrifically interested — this is a very exciting piece of news,” Susan Eustis, president of WinterGreen Research, told TechNewsWorld. “I think it’s very clear the reason cloud computing works so well is because it works using memory.”

In Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) searches, for example, “responses come up really fast, and that has to be because they’re coming out of memory,” Eustis explained. “It’s not going out to a database, accessing the storage and then coming back.”

Memristor technology “would be of enormous use, but not just for cloud computing,” she added. “It will impact all of computing.”

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