Imperial College London and the Universities of Southampton and Manchester, will work with industrial partners on the project to replace traditional transistors with memristors as the basis of electronic circuits.
Today all ICs are built from vast numbers of transistors (electronic switches). The size of transistors has continually shrunk but are now reaching their physical limit.
There is an expectation that memristors could hold the key by being both smaller and simpler in form than transistors, low-energy. They also have the ability to retain data due to the charge that has passed through them.
As a result the data processing and memory functions could be more efficiently integrated.
Prof Themis Prodromakis from the University of Southampton and principal investigator of the programme, writes:
“For decades we have followed the pattern that computers should have separate processor and memory units, but these are now struggling to cope with the masses of data in the public domain.”
The University of Southampton has previously demonstrated a memristor technology that can store up to 128 discernible memory states per switch, almost four times more than previously reported.
Prof Themis Prodromakis, writes:
“Memristor technologies bring great prospects for next-generation chips, which need to be highly reconfigurable yet affordable, scalable and energy-efficient, not to mention secure.”
“To achieve this, we have assembled some of the UK’s best academics and industrialists for developing the core technology as well as the required tools for demonstrating the benefits of the technology in real-working services and products.”
The programme has significant funding from the government’s EPSRC.