From Slime to AI: The Story of Memristance

Posted 13 Jul 2009 at 21:31 UTC by steve Share This

A NewScientist article summarizes the memristor revolution so far and predicts great things for AI as a result. To summarize their summary. Leon Chua mathematically predicted the existence of a fourth basic circuit component in addition to the resistor, capacitor, and inductor. He named this mythical component a memristor. It was similar to a resistor but "remembered" current. Memristors appeared not to exist, so Chua moved on to other research. 30 years later, HP Researchers stumbled onto a real memristor while trying to make low-power switches (Missing Memristor Found PDF format). The race was on. Memristance could revolutionize electronics. But here the story takes a detour in the world of intelligence. Physicist Max Di Ventra was studying P. polycephalum, a slime mould that puzzled researchers because it acted intelligently and learned without the benefit of neurons. He realized the slime mould acted as a memristor, confirming a suspicion Chua had that memristance could explain how organisms learn. It turns out memristors behave like neural synapses. Researchers are now working on hybrid transistor-memristor chips that will be able to reproduce some of the brain's processes. For more, try the HP Memristor FAQ.

positronic brain, posted 14 Jul 2009 at 12:12 UTC by c6jones720 » (Master)

I was wondering when I would hear more about this. If these reports are true then there could be some seriously cool thing coming in the future. It does make you wonder if we were barking up the worng tree be using digital computers.

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