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Friday, July 9, 2010

Memristics: Memory is more than Storage

Memristive memory is able to surpass the conceptual limits of computational storage methods


The relationship between memory and computation was not always a happy one. Once fixed by John von Neumann’s conceptualization of the practice of engineering solutions for practical computer architectures, it has become the ultimate paradigm of architecture but ending now into its permanent bottleneck foreclosing the former interactivity of memory and computation.  

Insights into mnemonics of the Ancient solutions to the process  of  memorization are  slowly recovering from the  military hierarchy of commander and commanded,  and the reduction of memory to storage.  

Memristive systems are prepared to re-dynamize the interplay of memory and computation again.

Some orientation towards conceptual generalizations of memristive approaches is given with the use of poly-categorical methods.

 Memristors as Logic

"The biggest new news about memristors, though, came in a paper in Nature last week, in which HP announced that the devices can also perform logic functions. In other words, Wiliams said, a memristor can act as both a storage element and a logic element, or "a lock as well as a gate."

"There's nothing else I'm aware of that performs both of those functions simultaneously," he said.”

Williams said there is an "intriguing possibility" that if you could use the same structure to do actual computing as well as storage, you could send the program to where the data is and execute the problem where the data is stored. Of course, that all depends on what the performance of memristor-based devices ends up being, compared with traditional CPUs and memory systems.
Memory is more than storage
"Note the double closure of the system which now recursively operates not only on what it “sees” but on its operators as well.”
(Heinz von Foerster, On constructing a Reality, in: Observing Systems, p. 305, 1984)
Storage implementation by flip-flops based on NAND or NOR gates are first-order concepts realizing storage and computation with the help of an “external” timer.
Memristive realizations are of second-order, they are not genuinely implemented by NAND-derivatives build by IMP but by a new kind of second-order construction. Because of their second-order status they are not primarily emulating storage but memory. 

Memory, in this generalized sense, is a self-referential construct, allowing to change the memorized object while memorizing, hence the object is not simply stored as a record, but is accessible to re-interpretation.

Further Notes
A finite state machine has a state but not a memory of a state.

A memristive machine has a state of a state, i.e. a meta-state as a memory, therefore a memristic machine is not a finite state machine.

A meta-state always can be taken as a simple state because a reduction from an as-abstraction to an is-abstraction is directly possible because the necessary informations are stored in the meta-state. From “x as y is z” there is an easy way to reduce it to “x is x”.
A memristive machine, then, is a machine with a tensed time, while finite state machines are not tensed machines. Their temporality is of first-order, memristic time is of second-order, i.e. an interpretation of a state of a state.
Todays interpretation of memristors as memory devices in an ANN is reducing the possibility of second-order learning to simple first-order learning as trained adaption.