The history of memristors dates back to 1971, when Professor Leon Chua published a controversial paper stating that a component named ‘memristor’ should be included as the fourth fundamental circuit element together with the resistor, capacitor and inductor. Chua claimed that memristors had properties that could not be reproduced by any combination of the other three elements.
The HP team was able to create the first hybrid memristor-transistor chip, which could potentially be cheaper and more energy efficient than existing chips. Lead researcher Stan Williams, a senior research fellow at HP said that so far increasing performance has usually meant shrinking components so that more can be packed onto a circuit. But in this case, Williams’s team removed some transistors and replaced them with a smaller number of memristors. “We’re not trying to crowd more transistors onto a chip or into a particular circuit,” Williams says. ”Hybrid memristor-transistor chips really have the promise for delivering a lot more performance.”