The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Another look at the state of memristors and IT

Memristor1.jpgI was recently pulling together a presentation on memristorsand the breadth of HP labs research activities. As I was looking at the material to cover, I noticed a great deal of research taking place on memristors outside of HP.


I do believe (contrary to what some may say) that is because this technology will fundamentally change the IT industry going forward.


At their heart, Memristors are a non-volatiles switch with great possibilities.

They can:

  • Scales to just a few nanometers lateral size
  • Multiple layers can be stacked for even greater total density
  • Switching speed is <10 ns at a few picoJoules energy dissipation
  • Have a state lifetime (value holding ability) for at least a few decades

The opportunities where they can be applied are:

–      As the replacement for storage technology like: Flash, Solid-State and Magnetic hard drives and even dynamic random access memory

–       Possibly even replacing many of the functions of custom integrated circuit and field programmable gate arrays.


The research on this area is still underway but the following numbers I was able to gather from a variety of sources, so they are presentative of the difference in capability between flash memory that everyone is so excited about and the memristor based equivalent.



Typical Flash

Memristor Target

Switching element size

100x100 cells


Switching time (ns)



Set voltage (V)



Reset voltage (V)


-3 to -5

Endurance (cycles)

10^2 to 10^7

 10^5 to 10^10


So in the coming few years as this is productionized, it will shift our expectations. For example, how would cloud be implemented differently if there was a terabyte of fast, static memory on our mobile devices? What if it were a petabyte??

| ‎07-21-2012 11:35 AM

For those into the solid state storage market, there is an interesting report on Wikibon:

A CIO primer on solid state storage and the solid state market


Paul Meuffels | ‎10-20-2012 11:06 AM

In the meantime, HP's memristor research group should have become aware of the physical flaws in its “memristor” model construction. The “memristor” claims are misleading when viewed from the perspective of  electrochemistry. The critique can be found in "Fundamental Issues and Problems in the Realization of Memristors" (

| ‎10-22-2012 10:10 PM

It appears that at this time, almost any univerisity with a singnificant solid state physics department has experiments underway related to memrsitor technology. Advancements in this space are very public and on-going.

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