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Memristor: Past, Present, and Future, Feb 22

What is a memristor? Why did it take 37 years to make one? Why did HP’s memristor generate so much excitement? How does the memristor retain its memory even after the power is switched off? What is the difference between a non-volatile memristor and a locally-active memristor? How smart are they?

This lecture reminisces the conceptual genesis of the memristor in 1971 along with an in-depth circuit-theoretic characterization and generalizations.

In particular, pinched hysteresis loops will be identified as the universal fingerprint of memristive systems, thereby unifying a broad class of non-volatile memories based on resistance switchings, such as RRAMs, MRAMs, phase-change memories, etc., published over the past two decades, as memristors.

Future generalizations to memristor-based sysnapses and ion channels will also be delineated and proposed as the right stuff for building low-power, laptop size and adaptive brain-like computers that could outperform existing supercomputers in many tasks, e.g. face recognition and dynamic associative memory.