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End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor

4/9/2010 03:00 PM EDT
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kszabo
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
kszabo   4/9/2010 5:47:39 PM
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Ugh. "End of the CPU". What a bad title. Really this is interesting technology but the title of this article is a misnomer. The thesis that these new devices will replace logic makes as much sense as moving from software/firmware to discrete logic for all devices. It isn't going to happen for all the well known reasons. Yes, the devices are interesting. No they will not replaces CPUs. I feel like I've just been sucked to read this through a phishing expedition.

kszabo
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
kszabo   4/9/2010 5:58:39 PM
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Darn typos. s/will replace logic/will replace cpus/ Sorry.

jwc
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
jwc   4/9/2010 6:44:13 PM
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Just as sensible to ask: "Will memistor CPU's obviate the need for memory?"

renedr
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
renedr   4/9/2010 9:32:38 PM
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What Stan Williams implies is that memristors will allow computers to be built which do not follow the traditional Von Neumann architecture which requires a CPU and stored program/data. With a memristor computer, the stored program and data is also the logic circuit. I don't see why it cannot happen. The brain is one of the most efficient computers and it doesn't follow the Von Neuman Architecture. Much of the research into memristor computing is precisely premised on computing that tries to mimic the brain. Obviously the Von Neumann paradigm will not work for a neural-synapse network based computer and new paradigms for computing - perhaps based on pattern detection and self learning will have to be developed.

SPLatMan
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
SPLatMan   4/9/2010 10:29:26 PM
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This could clearly be a total game changer. The problem I see is that the paradigm shift is so huge that the current generation of practitioners (that's us, guys) will simply not be able to re-program our brains to usefully accommodate the new way of doing things. It brings to mind all the fuss around multi-core. By comparison that is a a minor shift, and yet everyone is frantically trying to find a way to cast multicore into an emulation of the familiar paradigm. Translation: To invent a C compiler for multicore processors that hides the profound difference in the underlying computing technology. I can just see, 20 years from now, huge protracted debates about, and failed commercial attempts to make, a C compiler that targets a memristor architecture that is totally different to the simple 100 core micros we are (by then) all using. No, IMHO what will be needed is a whole new generation of practitioners who have been trained, without having their brains polluted by "harvard" thinking, to work with the new architure. In particular the C language must go, as it should have years ago. David Stonier-Gibson http://splatco.com

minorwork
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
minorwork   4/11/2010 5:05:49 AM
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The birth of Cylons. The memristor is the best synthetic neuron yet. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/36497

R0ckstar
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
R0ckstar   4/11/2010 4:49:53 PM
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Am I missing something here, or is this the most earth shattering development in electronics since the invention of the transistor in 1947? I would think anything that forces a rewrite of first-year engineering textbooks would be worthy of a bit more attention than a casual article in a trade publication. An anti-resistor? Really? Are we now going from R-L-C circuits to R-L-C-M circuits? That's a pretty basic change to classic AC circuit theory!

pkfan
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
pkfan   4/12/2010 7:01:22 AM
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It's not a big invention for such an concept in Programmable Logic Device field. Also the programming model is the biggest question before it can be accepted widely. BTW, Tabula Spacetime technology is very similar to this memristor.

HSchmit
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
HSchmit   4/12/2010 4:29:31 PM
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HP is probably regretting calling this a memristor, as it is not clear that it is really the fourth fundamental element. It appears to be a switch between two nanowires that is closed by some voltage relationship and opened by another. Cool, yes; Game-changing, maybe; Memristor, probably not. The comment above beat me to it: reconfigurable computing, FPGAs, etc have been pitching at the idea of a fundamentally new model of computation for decades. FPGA computing has shown order-of-magnitude performance improvements, but that is not enough to change things. People need simple computing abstractions. Until that emerges, the technology is irrelevant.

BrownH
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
BrownH   4/12/2010 5:13:18 PM
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I think there is a problem with what this article is suggesting. You see, the main performance bottleneck in a processor is NOT in the transistors themselves, but rather in the interconnect (data-paths, wires, or the metal layers). It's the charging and discharging of these data-paths that determines the rise/fall times of signals. A processor designed with memristors, so as to enable dynamic reconfiguration, might actually degrade overall performance as it will not be able to have specialized interconnectwithin latency critical units. And if it were to employ specialized interconnect, that would defeat the purpose of employing memristors.

R_Colin_Johnson
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
R_Colin_Johnson   4/13/2010 4:01:32 PM
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Unfortunately, headlines can never tell the whole story. This one asks the question of whether configurable memristors could replace the CPU, but the answer, of course, is more complex than just yes or no. If HP is correct, then its memristive device architecture will be able to replace some CPU functions--such as rendering--by massaging the data in-place, rather than having to shuffle all the data through a CPU and back to memory.

R_Colin_Johnson
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
R_Colin_Johnson   4/13/2010 4:28:43 PM
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Your sentiments ring oh-so-true. 20 years ago when I was in engineering school at University of Michigan (Go Wolverines!) one of my Master's projects was to automatically partition algorithms for execution on multiple microprocessors (in those days each CPU was on a separate chip--no multi-cores yet). We thought the problem would take just a few years to solve, but today there is still no way to automatically partition algorithms for parallel execution. And that problem is easy compared to the new paradigm that HP is proposing!

asimecs
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
asimecs   4/15/2010 10:16:25 PM
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This is the beginning of the end for Intel's domination of the computing world. Algorithms that are hard for the current paradigm will become natural for this new paradigm. For example, image recognition, can become a big leap in user interface (UI). Just imagine an email program that can understand your emotions upon reading certain emails and direct them to the junk folder automatically...

jimfordbroadcom
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
jimfordbroadcom   4/20/2010 4:31:26 PM
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Well, if resistance is going be the new indicator of logic state, I have to wonder how long it will take to measure this. Maybe longer for the high resistance state due to the time constant formed with the stray capacitance? It implies that a known current is passed through the element and the voltage is measured or a known voltage is placed across the element and the current is measured. How fast can this be done?

CamilleK
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
CamilleK   4/23/2010 7:21:02 AM
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Distributed computing implies several autonomous computational entities communicating through message passing (wikipedia). By having the memristor structures dense enough, some tasks could well be completed running standalone with precoded adaptability on specific functions (like the rendering mention above) with minimal message passing and reduced interconnect performance degradation. I do see this as an enhancement capacity-wise to flash, making possible infinitely distributed processors with (again some precoded) localized decision making and adaptability.

resistion
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re: End of the CPU? HP demos configurable memristor
resistion   10/16/2010 6:28:49 AM
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HP's memristor does not obviate transistors since it is a two-terminal device.

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