Memristor sparks battle of the boffins

A scientific handbags at dawn scrap is being engaged at an online repository for academic papers over the future of Memristors or non-volatile memory devices.

Professor Hyongsuk Kim of the Department of Electronics Engineering at Chonbuk National University, South Korea published a paper which seeks to show that pinched hysteresis loops are the “fingerprint” of memristive devices.

But it is the complete opposite to an earlier paper penned by Blaise Mouttet, of Arlington. Mouttet’s paper proves that Professor Leon Chua, the circuit theorist who coined the term memristor back in 1971, had made an error.

Professor Kim and his co-authors start by slamming Moutter and showing all the numbers that proved he was wrong.

Memristors are two-terminal non-volatile memory devices currently in R&D and if any of them are actually built it could make all these academic arguments about the mathematics of hysteresis curves pretty important.

Professor Chua said that a memristor was going to be the fourth fundamental two-terminal passive circuit element, the others are the resistor, capacitor and inductor.

HP has been developing a memristor term for its metal-oxide resistive RAM technology it began to develop some time before 2008.

But Mouttet laughs and points his finger at HP Labs, and with much mocking says that it is not a memristor but part of a broader class of variable resistance systems. So there.

That could be fighting talk in the academic world, and we expect that someone is going to get a Chinese burn at the back of the university bike sheds.

According to the Electronic Times, the system encourages this sort of boffin bashing. Its papers are not peer-reviewed. Moderators do exist to categorise and re-categorise submissions and some of the more naughty boffins have to explain themselves to Matron.