Memristors should perform better when bathed in certain types of noise

Arxiv – memristors be immune to most types of noise, their memory ought to be enhanced by it. Researchers calculate that high frequency noise has little effect on memristance because the device cannot respond quickly enough to the changes that this noise produces. Low frequency noise also has little effect because it produces changes that are too slow to effect the memory.

Technology Review – Next Generation Memories Will Be Improved By Noise

There is an intermediate range of noise that has a significant effect on memristance. But far from destroying memristance, Stotland and Di Ventra calculate that it should amplify it by making the hysteresis curve wider. In effect, this type of noise improves memristance.

This is analogous to another well known effect of noise known as stochastic resonance, in which the sensitivity of certain systems is improved by noise. Stotland and Di Ventra call their new effect stochastic memory.

Stotland and Di Ventra go on to say that their theory can be easily tested. One important source of noise in any electronic system is temperature. So changing the temperature of a memristor should effect its memristance in a characteristic way.

The role of noise may have important implications for other fields of science. It turns out that the electrical behaviour of synapses, the gaps between neurons, is identical to a memristor’s. So it seems as if memristance must play a fundamental role in the way our body and brain processes information.

Neurologists have often wondered why our information processing system is so robust to the noise that must bombard it.

Perhaps Stotland and Di Ventra’s ideas will show that neurons are not just robust against noise, they actually depend on it to work effectively.

There are already a number of research programs to study and exploit memristance in making chips that can mimic the behaviour of neural circuits. So we may not have to wait long to find out.

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