Memristor May Be Fake News

The fundamental passive components of electronics are the resistor, the capacitor, the inductor, and the oscillator, right? Actually, no, oscillators aren’t considered fundamental components because they aren’t linear. Resistors, capacitors, and inductors are also irreducible. That is, you can’t combine other passive components to model them unlike, say, a potentiometer. In the last few decades, though, we’ve heard of another fundamental component — the memristor. [Isaac Abraham] asserts, though, that the memristor isn’t a new fundamental component, but just an active device.

To support that premise [Isaac] builds a periodic table of devices showing how components map to changing voltages based on the time-varying property of charge. This shows that all the basic relationships are filled and that memristor actually covers a composition of passive components. This is similar in concept to [Strukov’s] diagram implying that a memristor is the fourth quadrant of a space defined by charge vs flux. However, using the properties of this periodic table [Isaac] argues against the fundamental nature of the memristor.

Of course, he isn’t arguing that the memristor doesn’t exist. He simply states that they are composites of nonlinear resistors, and thus don’t qualify as a fundamental component. From our point of view, we don’t really care. We use a lot of components every day that aren’t fundamental. But if you are the pedantic sort, you might find this an interesting read.

If you need to remember what a memristor is first, have a look at this. Of course, some of this depends on just how you define passive and fundamental.

31 thoughts on “Memristor May Be Fake News

  1. Ugh… Fake news is when a media creator twists or fabricates a story to push a narrative… Differing views on a developing technology/scientific principal don’t even remotely fall close to the real of “fake news”… It’s clickbait. That headline is more fake news than anything regarding the status of memristors. Seriously, guys…

    1. As an addendum though, the claims of the article are perfectly valid. Memristors could very well be classified as an active component, vs a “fourth fundamental” component… Doesn’t change the fact that I want to see FPGA like memristor arrays become affordable devices someday. Imagine, a chip that’s programmed like an FPGA to reconfigure the interconnections between hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of memristors someday… That’s be an amazing development!

      I don’t care if the memristor is a passive or an active component. Science will eventually decide one way or the other, once and for all, and I hope the tech eventually pans out and delivers on it’s lofty promises.

      1. True richfiles,
        In terms of your reconfigure aspect, could also add to the mix rarely considered ntc and ptc devices as types of subtle logic elements (as if in their class of fundamentals) in coupling with the conventional fundamentals along with memristors. Tricky to think how to start a functional design towards some intended outcome at this stage with memristors but, feasible I imagine. Perhaps the application of genetic algorithms leapfrogged with a rapidly expanding global design reference to skip immense numbers of inappropriate permutations thus allowing that virtual universe to converge more quickly and more efficiently re energy on an ideal outcome – whatever that is & for who ?

        When I first saw the oddball NASA antenna on this link which appears as if intelligently designed beyond understanding of the time (like the incredibly tight filters on earliest HDTV transmitters), it reflected well on not just our understanding of reality in terms of our/life’s biochemical permutations by way of personal experience and example but, in the pragmatic approach to produce what could appear more as genius type devices and processes without anywhere near as much grunt intellectual effort…

        The applications really are huge, one could imagine our current level of designers might find their approaches primitive far sooner than we ever expected, 5 to 10 years depending on technical discipline, here are some applications and this is not a complete list, many behind the scenes speculations are progressing ;-)

        Though if/when we reach the arena of Ai crafting genetic algorithms to produce Ai (in whatever increasingly more adaptive form) in tight recursive convergence then I think we as mere humans have had it :/
        Lets just hope that any humans still involved in the process along the way (before it gets out of hand) don’t build in trojan like schisms as motive for power or anything nefarious even to protect themselves which might then be exploited by subsequent Ai generations etc…

      1. I liked the headline. Part of what is eating away at our society right now is the people who knee jerk react to anything positive or negative to “your team.” So you clearly perceive “fake news” as being either pro-Trump or anti-Trump and either way you’ve decided to shame Had for it. Words are symbols. They mean what we assign to them. So:
        1) Who cares what the title of Had post is? I can’t image them at their daily editorial meeting going “heh heh… we’ll put this title up and everyone will become Trump supporters” or detractors. Is your opinion that easily swayed?
        2) The media has been in a froth for a few years about the memristor. If this paper is right it was, indeed, fake news. Or inaccurite news or whatever you want to call it. Fake news has certainly entered the venacular.

        This is the same kind of thing that has made it a crime to be accused of, say, harassment or bias (don’t click this link if this title made you all butt hurt: We as a people aren’t thinking anymore, just reacting to hot words. And we are going to pay a terrible terrible price for it.

      2. Yup. The world’s idiotic enough right now. Part of HAD’s reason to exist is to drag the collective IQ of the Internet up a little bit.

        Of course each article is only one femto-Facebook, but it’s still supposed to be a positive increase.

  2. It seems to me that they’re mainly excluding memristors by the “transience” rule, meaning that since the actual devices run into saturation at some point they can’t be it.

    But that’s an unreasonable complaint. At some point, any inductor will saturate, any capacitor will break down, and any resistor will melt, requiring the same sort of “window of observation” that they use to disqualify the memristor.

    1. >”pushing a rate of current into the device should result in a rate of change of voltage ????̇; which will occur across the 2008 HP and 1971 Chua’s devices. However, the change of voltage is only momentarily nontrivial and will evaluate to zero as soon as the transition from low to high resistance (or vice versa) is over; making this a transient event and violating Rule 2. Therefore there is no place in (C,X̂) for the 2008 (or 1971) memristor.”

      This seems unreasonable. They’re complaining that a real component is not an ideal component, or that the ideal component is not “realizable” in practice. Of course a real memristor will saturate at some point because we don’t have materials that have infinite resistance over finite volumes of space.

  3. The thrust of this article feels a lot like the attempts of Formalism to reduce everything to a system of consistent axioms. While valid on its own terms, it doesn’t really matter to the bulk of the discipline whether the memristor should be considered “fundamental” or not. I doubt a future adopter of the memristor in a well-suited application will care much about “the forbidden column Z”.

    1. Nice thing about formalism if done right is the idea that one can then go in the other direction and build new things, in a new direction. After all a house is only as good as it’s foundation.

  4. Finally someone is pointing out the emperors nakedness! Every wire is a resistor, a capacitor, and an inductor. If memristors want to be the fourth fundamental element then someone needs to show that memristance (?) exists in every wire.

  5. One: That headline is awful, and whoever made it should go jump in a lake. It’s not accurate, and it’s not even funny.

    Two: This seems to complete miss what makes a device active. Active components need power to do what they do. Transistors and diodes need a bias voltage, and cannot maintain state without it. Passives can sit on the shelf for a decade without losing state.

    You could argue it’s not “fundamental” (Although that term kinda falls apart once you get into actual physics anyway) but it’s sure as hell not active.

  6. The headline is totally valid. Since an announcement (News) that this was a fundamental component turns out to be false (fake) then what else would you call it? In other words, if the shoe (headline) fits, wear it.

    1. “False” and “fake” aren’t the same thing. The second term implies a deliberate lie, a difference between a person’s knowledge and their claims. In this case it may or may not be that people, whoever they are, are merely mistaken about whatever the fuck it matters about memristors. And it is a fairly piffling point, although I accept that in research that isn’t an important consideration.

      1. Granted, HP did make some grand claims about the memristor and has done some clever stretching of the concept to get their device to qualify, which has implications for the patent. They want everything that vaguely resembles a memristor in function to qualify, so they can claim it’s covered by their patents.

        So HP may have knowingly lied that their device is a memristor, i.e the memristor may be fake news.

  7. Get over yourselves, it’s just a funny title. Just read the article or don’t; Hackaday can continue posting good hacks and interesting articles. Maybe while people are discussing the meat of the article here on Hackaday, you can write an op-ed on YOUR blog about Hackaday’s titles.

    1. It’s not a funny title. If it’s meant as a joke it’s a bloody tired one. And utterly depressing considering the context. “Fake news” means “something a certain idiot doesn’t like”. It doesn’t actually have to be fake or false, just what a certain silly person doesn’t want to hear. It’s “post-truth”, apparently, which we used to call “lying” when I were a lad.

      1. You are confused again. CNN IS called Fake News because they report false, made up stories and try to pass them off as being true. They have been busted for doing this time and time again. So, it is not just “something a certain idiot doesn’t like” (your quote) it is fake reporting being passed off as journalism. Other “news” outlets do this too once in a while but CNN has brought this to a new level…just look at how small their viewership is now. The Cooking Channel is beating their market share, ha ha. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

        1. Hehe! I remember the bit they did where they claimed to have reporters at two different places… And then the same vehicle crossed from one camera to the other! Also that one from the early 1990s gulf war where they staged that fake air raid emergency. Man, that was too funny… The acting was SO bad! XD

      2. I see, so did this title “trigger” you? Perhaps we should petition for Hackaday to be filtered in your state. It’s just disgusting that some people would fill a comment board with their critique of the title. Do you have any original thoughts on memristor theory?

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