You say “memristor” and I say…something else? Amusing comments from the memristor naming debate.

You may or may not be aware of a small controversy surrounding the use of the term “memristor” by HP’s Stan Williams (See “Wonks Question HP’s Claim to Computer-Memory Missing Link” at I’m not going to weigh in on that argument, the device does something useful that can clearly be used as a non-volatile memory no matter what you name it. However, I got a real kick out of some Slashdot comments and wanted to share them:

“I feel like I’m eavesdropping in the middle of a conversation between two mental patients.”

“Personally, I still have no idea.”

“So, what gives if this HP invention is not the ‘perfect’ memristor. As long as it’s close enough, it would do. In other words: if it quacks like a duck…”

“I came here to say precisely this. It isn’t an ‘ideal’ component. Which is what the theory is based on. But then neither is any electrical component you can think of. Even resistors stop being linear at very high or very low voltages / currents. Anybody ever seen an ideal current source? An ideal voltage source? And ideal op-amp? Its not ideal because it is a real device. Ideal components only exist on paper.”

“What HP have produced is a device that substantially behaves like a memristor, if you are only measuring current and voltage at the terminals. That’s useful if you want to build a memory device, since the behaviour is such that resistance will vary with the integral of the current through it.”

“Terminology IS important. Suppose HP gets a patent on their “memristor”, and suppose someone else discovers a true memristor within 20 years. The HP “memristor” could set back the state of science with stupid patent lawsuits for a generation.”

“Do any of the previous posters have any actual experience dealing with memristors? My phone rang off the hook when this BS story hit the Internet a few years ago. I worked at QuckLogic, where we built “memristors”, but failed to have the marketing brilliance to call them anything other than “antifuses”. I don’t blame the guy at HP who did pull this off. That’s how the game is played.”

Note: You’ll find these comments at

About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at
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