Forrest Bennett explains memristors

Longtime Foresight Senior Associate and senior research scientist at Genetic Programming, Inc. has done an interview on memristors over at blog FrogHeart for those of us trying to keep up on this challenging topic.  He concludes:

So why are memristors useful? Sticking with our water analogy, I can make the pipe bigger or small depending on which way I run the water through it. And, when I turn off the water, the pipe stays at whatever size it’s at. So the pipe has a memory. This means that I can use it to store data. I can run water through it in one direction to make the pipe big, and treat the big pipe like a stored digital ONE. Or can run water through it in the other direction to make the pipe small, and treat the small pipe like stored digital ZERO. Presto! We have a digital storage device. It may not sound very exciting when described like this, but the excitement is about just how small, low powered, simple, and 3D these devices can be.

But memristors can store more than just ONEs and ZEROs. They can also store intermediate values between ONE and ZERO depending on how long and hard I push the water through the memristor. This is what makes a memristor useful in simulating a neural synapse.

Thanks, Forrest.  —Chris Peterson

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