Friday, May 02, 2008

Flux Capacitor is now for real!

Just like there are resistors, inductors and capacitors, presence of another element called as memristor was predicted in 1971 by professor Leon Chau. It took 37 years for someone to develop it. HP labs has done this feat. Memristor, in short remembers the current passing through it and accordingly changes it resistance. The greatest thing about it is that it performs better as you scale it down, meaning high density chips will be easier to make as against what happens when transistors are packed together.

By all that it looks like, it seems to be a revolution in electronics and is going to redefine nano-technology. Here is a intriguing statement by professor Chau,

"The situation is analogous to what is called Aristotle's Law of Motion, which was wrong, because he said that force must be proportional to velocity. That misled people for 2000 years until Newton came along and pointed out that Aristotle was using the wrong variables. Newton said that force is proportional to acceleration -- the change in velocity. This is exactly the situation with electronic circuit theory today. All electronic text books have been teaching using the wrong variables -- voltage and charge--explaining away inaccuracies as anomalies. What they should have been teaching is the relationship between changes in voltage, or flux, and charge."

And surprise. Memristor's technically correct name happens to be "Flux Capacitor". You'll know what I mean if you have seen the "Back to the Future" trilogy. And if the science in that was correct(ahem)..which used flux capacitor as the basis for time travel...Wait a minute, Doc...ah


Gandalf said...

Interesting !

P.S. I liked the previous layout of your blog a lot better.

Natasha said...

hey nice post. read about this on the news. So the impact will be huge, esp if textbooks need to be rewritten.

When will construction get over? [:)]

Parag said...

Gandalf < I'm tweaking a new template for use of my blog...will take some time. The layout has been fixed now, things on the right are back to the right, which is much more readable I guess.

Natasha < Sometime in the near future...I don't have the flux capacitor to find the answer.

Ashwini said...

Good to see CS folks keeping up with 'tronics! Doesn't happen often, in my experience :)
It might be obvious, but still : Any changes in the underlying h/w technology will surely bubble up and change the way you guys write s/w! Any thoughts on how this one could affect?

Parag said...

Ashwini < I don't see it directly affecting s/w development. The reason being it'll help increase chip density, which shouldn't cause any significant change in s/w development, except for things like firmware which are anyways tied to the h/w.

And CS people are not as snob as you think :)

Ashwini said...

Ah! you got me wrong, I didn't mean 'snob', just some good-humored fun!
As you know, increased chip density has led to multicores, multithreading etc. That has certainly changed s/w development. So this time too, there could be some new additions.
Anyway, I should stop here, and not kill the spirit of this blog :)