Research network gets granular on memristors
The new Chua Memristor Center (CMC) is particularly interested in one property of the memristors: They are extremely small, which translates into a very small footprint in nanoelectronic components and thus a high package density. “This enables much more RAM at very little space” explains professor Ronald Tetzlaff drom the Dresden Technical University and one of the founders of the CMC. “This makes it possible to design much faster computers and other devices. The computers do not need to be booted as it is the case with today’s computers. Instead, they would be ready to work immediately after power is switched on – a huge benefit for all users.”
Memirstors also are capable of learning. This property makes them ideal for use in artificial brains: Today’s computers can solve numerical tasks very fast, but they are unable of thinking, because they lack the analytical capabilities of the human brain. Currently numerous research projects – such as the EU-funded Human Brain Project – are busy developing artificial brains and teach computers to think. Thanks to their capabilities, memristors are regarded as probable candidates to be used in such “thinking” computers.
Though the term memristor has its roots way back in the early seventies of the past century, the science community only started to get seriously involved into the topic some eight years ago. While some commercial companies already make use of memristors in memory applications, the understanding prevails that the technology is not yet ready for mass production. The CMC therefore will connect researchers from different areas of science and industry to fathom out the scientific foundations of memristors and open the door for industrialisation.
The founders of the Chua Memristor Center are professors Ronald Tetzlaff and Thomas Mikolajick from the TU Dresden and Dietmar Frey from the university of Erlangen and Nuremberg. The CMC has been named after Leon Chua from the University of California in Berkeley who coined the term memristor in 1971. In the memristor research community, Chua is still a heavyweight; he will be involved in the CMC as a member of the scientific advisory board of the institution.