Memory that learns could help tomorrow's intelligent computers

Knowm hopes its new memristors will lead to new types of computers

As researchers try to build more complex computers that get closer to emulating the way the human brain works, one of the areas of focus is memory.

Existing chips, hard disks and tape drives are great at storing large amounts of data, but a new breed of memory chip called a memristor could go a step further: helping the artificial intelligence systems of tomorrow actually understand the data and make more use of it.

Memristors could help computers connect the dots to identify diseases or help self-driving cars recognize objects based on probabilities and associations. Memristors are best used in machine-learning models to make predictions based on patterns and trends culled from large stacks of information, said Alex Nugent, CEO of Knowm.

Knowm is a New Mexico-based start-up and one of the companies working on memristor technology.

Knowm's memristors are designed around human brains, in which a synapse that connects two neurons gets stronger the more often a signal is passed. Similarly, the learning and retention of information on Knowm memristor circuits are determined by data flow characteristics and the current.

Knowm doesn't yet have a fully functional memristor chip. But it has introduced prototype test kits for researchers and academics on which its memristor design can be emulated. Knowm's test kit will include a chip with analog and digital circuits, software packages and algorithms.

Knowm's current memristor is a "learning processor" that works alongside CPUs, GPUs and other processors, Nugent said.

The company is going up against some big competitors, including HP.

HP plans to use them in a new type of computer called The Machine. It believes memristors could potentially replace both storage and memory in computers and is partnering with SanDisk to make the components. SanDisk says memristors could be 1,000 times faster and durable than flash storage.

Nugent believes memristors will lead to new computers that are better at learning and extracting intelligence from data patterns. Machine-learning is possible on today's computers, but it is not efficient and draws a lot of power, Nugent said.

It could be many years until the first chips based on Knowm's architecture appear in commercial products. The startup is being funded through equity investment and government grant programs, and will receive more equity funding from an undisclosed partner in the coming months.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?