A tantalizing article about a research project at HP to build a computer using large memristor arrays as fast persistent memory and silicon photonics for communication. Pretty short on details but an interesting bit of news nonetheless.
We are about to have another layer of non-volatile memory somewhere between DRAM and the SSD in terms of speed and capacity. It has some interesting implications like nulling out sensitive data, how to call memset on 200GB of non-volatile storage? Turns out having encrypted memory makes it as easy as throwing away the keys, see Securing Non-Volatile Main Memory
Here’s an article that skims over a few of the other technologies other companies are racing to develop. A few papers I’ve skimmed, each of which were a few years old, characterized memristor read times as being “<50ns” and write times as being “0.3ns”. DRAM has 2-10ns for each of those, SRAM has 0.2ns for each. Some research has been done (PDF) to study CAM (content addressable memory) applied to memristors. CAM is used in things like networking equipment that need to search the entire address space of rules very quickly and often, and instead of addressing memory by a byte offset, you broadcast a word to all cells and if any contain it, you are returned their positions. My understanding of it is extremely shallow and please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to provide O(constant fanout + fanin overhead) search of memory. Applied to memristors with extreme density, this is one of the things that could completely revolutionize databases, file systems, and computing in general.