I’m more than a little stoked about the announcement of a “memristor,” but I doubt if most readers will be similarly impressed.  A memristor is an electronic device that was first theorized in 1971 and discovered (or invented, depending on one’s perspective) by HP Labs just a few weeks ago.

When I went to electronics school — a few decades ago — there were only three passive electrical devices: resistors, capacitors, and inductors.  Now we can add memristors to the list.  My mind is spinning with the ramifications.  As of today, Google has 126,000 references to memristors; I am sure that number will balloon in the future.

To put it into a more common perspective, this announcement might be akin to someone discovering that matter can exist in a fourth state, in additional to the traditional solid, liquid, or gas  — or to contemplate the implications that time is the fourth dimension, after length, width, and height.

The hoped for applications of memristors are numerous, including small-scale flash memory, artificial neural networks, and a means to counter heat generation and power consumption issues in ever-shrinking electronic circuitry.

But I must stop my enthused exudation before you dismiss me as a total geek.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

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