In a previous post, I mused about how new types of computer memory might change the future of computers. The future I envisioned might arrive sooner than I thought. An article in EE Times describes the creation at HP of working memristors. Leon Chua postulated the existence of the memristor in 1971 as the fourth passive circuit element after the resistor, capacitor, and inductor. It has remained hypothetical ever since, until now.
If what HP is describing can be verified (they promise more details later in 2008), then the ramifications are staggering. Not only will electronics textbooks have to be rewritten, but whole new classes of circuits will be possible. HP has already used memristors to create memory that crams 100 gigabits in a single square centimeter. But they claim that memristors will be useful not only for memory, but for "whole range of new types of devices that no one has ever thought of before".
If the promise of memristors can be realized, then the impact on technology could be enormous. But am I the only one who read the end of the EE Times article and immediately thought of the positronic brain?