Category Archives: Memory

Memristors built with 2-nanometer-thick parts

Image of the crossbar array.

When two blocks are set down on top of each other, they’re oriented so that they have nine intersections. (credit: Pi et al.)

Phase-change memory seems to offer the best of both worlds: the speed of current RAM with the permanence of a hard disk. While current implementations are too expensive for widespread use, researchers have been doing interesting things with test hardware. Its distinct properties have allowed people to perform calculations and train neural networks, all in memory. So finding out how to make phase-change memory more efficient could open some new approaches to computing.

This week, a collaboration between scientists at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Brookhaven National Lab is publishing a paper describing how it made a tiny set of memristors that acts similarly to phase-change memory. The features of the memory are only two nanometers across, and they can be separated by as little as 12nm—below the cutting edge of processor manufacturing. The down sides? So far, the team has only made nine bits at a time, and they’re made using platinum.

On the grid

Key to this new work are tiny sheets of platinum only two nanometers thick—that’s just over 11 atoms of the element. While platinum is rather pricey, the thin sheets provide extremely low resistance. The researchers measured each sheet at about 10,000 times less than the expected resistance of a similar-thickness carbon nanotube. And the authors say they can manufacture the sheets in the appropriate dimensions with a 100 percent efficiency.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

What watching Forrest Gump tells us about how we store memories

Participants in new neuroimaging study watched an edited version of <em>Forrest Gump</em>.

Enlarge / Participants in new neuroimaging study watched an edited version of Forrest Gump. (credit: Paramount Pictures)

Watching the 1995 film Forrest Gump can elicit sincere emotion and pleasure or more negative responses in viewers, depending on one’s subjective cinematic tastes. It can also teach neuroscientists something about how the brain encodes everyday events into long-term memory, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The brain seems most interested in tracking transitions between distinct events, the better to segment and store them.

The hippocampus is the brain region most closely associated with forming new memories. Most experiments focusing on memory use the most minimal, simplified stimuli possible to better control for variables, according to co-author Aya Ben-Yakov of the University of Cambridge. But in reality, the brain actually processes a huge amount of continually incoming stimuli. This is the first study to specifically investigate how the hippocampus operates during so-called “natural experiences.”

Films turn out to be ideal for simulating that kind of natural continuous input, mimicking our daily lived experience. And Forrest Gump is one of the most popular with neuroscientists, thanks in large part to an open source dataset called studyforrest. Founded in 2013, the project is a repository for experiments that study the brain’s natural behavior in response to watching the film, using fMRI, eye tracking, structural brain scans, and more.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Intel’s desktop 9th-generation Core chips can handle 128GB of RAM

To date, Intel's mainstream processors haven't supported more than 64GB of RAM. That's not a crisis-inducing problem right now (only demanding pros are likely to notice), but the time when you'll want more is on the horizon. Thankfully, Intel is prep…

NASA activated Curiosity’s second ‘brain’ after it misbehaved

Tired? Sluggish? Wouldn't it be great if you could just switch your brain to a better functioning version? Well, that's a privilege you can enjoy if you're the Mars Curiosity rover. NASA's intrepid explorer has been subject to a few technical problem…

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today. 

MRAM Developer Day, IBM Keynote Live Blog

Third Keynote in this session is from IBM Research: STT-MRAM is Ready for Applications Today.