HP has unveiled ambitious plans to build a system called “The Machine” that will be entirely made up of memoristors and cut down the time it takes for different memory types to work together.
The plan, which was detailed at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas, will be built using the fourth fundamental component invented by HP back in 2008 and it’s planned that memoristor-based DIMMs will be out by as early as 2016, according to Ars Technica.
Jonn Sontag, VP of HP Systems Research, explained that The Machine will use “electrons for processing, photons for communication, and ions for storage” and if HP is successful in building the machine it will prove “revolutionary” according to many.
The electrons mentioned above are found in conventional silicon processors with the ions found inside the memoristors and photons being included is due to HP wanting to use optical interconnects in the system that are built using silicon photonics technology.
Silicon photonics see photons generated on and travel though “circuits” that are etched onto silicon chips and it allows conventional chip manufacturing to construct optical parts.
Implementing memoristor technology will help memory hungry applications that suffer due to the fact that memory is usually either very fast but very small, or very large but very slow, and getting data between them creates a problem.
Optical interconnects operating at a high speed combined with memoristor memory could limit the size/performance problem but not remove it completely, and the firm promised at HP Discover that it could enable databases that can handle billions of updates per second.
Martin Fink, head of HP Labs, told Bloomberg that The Machine is so far not on any official HP product roadmap and the earliest it could arrive is 2017 or at the latest 2020.