I didn't knpw about the memristor from HP, Lou. I'll have to check that out. With HP working on it, though, I'd say it probably has a head start on this technology, at least commercially. This still seems largely something going on in the lab, but with the backing of HP the memristor could make it to the commercial sector faster. Will be an interesting space to watch either way.
I always thought that the 'maybe' position might make a more promising system. Computers, as they exist today, have two states, the off (0) and on (1) state. What I was wondering about is if we could change that to three states, the 'yes' (1), no (-1), and maybe (0) based system. The state of uncertainty, in my opinion, leads to the very nature of creativity and self-expression. For video games, this type of a 'thinking' machine might make playing games a lot more fun. In military applications, the 'maybe' position would allow the machine to speculate on possibilities that might only occur randomly in nature, and thus allow the guidance systems in missiles to determine whether or not a target was friend or foe (and it would prevent marines from shooting camels with tow missiles - yes, when I was in the Persian Gulf in 1990, we had a marine do that because he "...thought it was a tank." And they wonder why Air Force guys pick on marines). It would also allow us to improve self-driving cars and autopilot systems in aircraft, as well as make space probes that, unlike the Mars lander, could route themselves in different directions based upon actual readings from their instruments, and ignore things like instructions given in inches and feet instead of millimeters and meters. The possibilities are limitless for a 'maybe' system.
I have wondered if there is a physical principle that could enable a computer to work in the base 10 number system instead of binary. I'm not sure what the advantage might be but it's a thought. Sometimes stupid ideas take off and fly.
I really like it when simple chemical or physical relationships between materials are used to make something work in an elegant and simple way. The principle of phase change memory is what's behind the now-venerable techniques of PRAM. This new version looks like a simpler way to go than previous attempts.
Elizabeth, this is an interesting technology. Obviously it is in the early stages. It seems like it would be a direct competitor to the memristor, which HP is working on. It will be interesting to see how these two stack up.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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