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The Computer That Stores and Processes Information at the Same Time

By Technology Review

November 21, 2012

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Computer scientists claim they can now store and process information simultaneously like a human brain by using nanoscale electronic components. This form of computation, dubbed memcomputing, is outlined by University of California, San Diego researcher Max Di Ventra and University of South Carolina, Columbia researcher Yuriy Pershin.

Memcomputing's core components are the memristor, memcapacitor, and meminductor, which store data while functioning respectively as resistors, capacitors, and inductors. The researchers have refined the essential characteristics that should enable these elements to equal the brain's performance, including the capacity for long-term information storage, collective action so that the state of a memdevice as a whole relies on the states of its constituent components, and resilience against noise and slight imperfections.

The researchers note that memcapicitors and meminductors have zero energy consumption, which should allow, for the first time, a close approximation of natural system energy efficiency. "An important milestone in this field would be the demonstration of a memcomputing device with computing capabilities and power consumption comparable to (or better than) those of the human brain," the researchers say.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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