Browse Definitions :
Definition

memristor

A memristor is an electrical component that limits or regulates the flow of electrical current in a circuit and remembers the amount of charge that has previously flowed through it. Memristors are important because they are non-volatile, meaning that they retain memory without power.

The original concept for memristors, as conceived in 1971 by Professor Leon Chua at the University of California, Berkeley, was a nonlinear, passive two-terminal electrical component that linked electric charge and magnetic flux. Since then, the definition of memristor has been broadened to include any form of non-volatile memory that is based on resistance switching, which increases the flow of current in one direction and decreases the flow of current in the opposite direction.

A memristor is often compared to an imaginary pipe that carries water. When the water flows in one direction, the pipe's diameter expands and allows the water to flow faster -- but when the water flows in the opposite direction, the pipe's diameter contracts and slows the water's flow down. If the water is shut off, the pipe retains its diameter until the water is turned back on. To continue the analogy, when a  memristor's power is shut off, the memristor retains its resistance value. This would mean that if power to a computer was cut off with a hard shut down,  all the applications and documents that were open before the shut down would still be right there the screen when the computer was restarted.

Memristors, which are considered to be a sub-category of resistive RAM, are one of several storage technologies that have been predicted to replace flash memory. Scientists at HP Labs built the first working memristor in 2008 and since that time, researchers in many large IT companies have explored how memristors can be used to create smaller, faster, low-power computers that do not require data to be transferred between volatile and non-volatile memory. If the storage heirarchy could be flattened by replacing DRAM and hard drives with memristors, it would theoretically be possible to create analog computers capable of carrying out calculations on the same chips that store data. 

R. Stanley Williams explains how a memristor works.

 

This was last updated in May 2015

Continue Reading About memristor

SearchCompliance
  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

  • chief risk officer (CRO)

    The chief risk officer (CRO) is the corporate executive tasked with assessing and mitigating significant competitive, regulatory ...

SearchSecurity
  • script kiddie

    Script kiddie is a derogative term that computer hackers coined to refer to immature, but often just as dangerous, exploiters of ...

  • cipher

    In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for encrypting and decrypting data.

  • What is risk analysis?

    Risk analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing potential issues that could negatively impact key business initiatives ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
  • gigabyte (GB)

    A gigabyte (GB) -- pronounced with two hard Gs -- is a unit of data storage capacity that is roughly equivalent to 1 billion ...

  • MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory)

    MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) is a method of storing data bits using magnetic states instead of the electrical ...

  • storage volume

    A storage volume is an identifiable unit of data storage. It can be a removable hard disk, but it does not have to be a unit that...

Close