Newsletter – December 2014
Bend your brain and see the future
Researchers and technologists are constantly working on developing the next emerging trend that will change the way we live and work.
One such example is the Memristor, a breakthrough that packs some serious potential. The memristor is a new breed of technology that may lead to servers and other devices far more efficient than today’s machines.
Clear your mind so I can explain.
Start by thinking about a water pipe
Imagine a pipe carrying water. The amount of effort required to stop water running through this pipe depends on (a) the diameter of the pipe and (b) the speed at which the water is flowing. This is similar to how a traditional electrical circuit works, and a resistor is the component used to slow down electrical current and voltage.
OK, now imagine if the amount of effort required to stop the water was determined by the amount of water that ran through it in the past, not the present. So even if the water stops flowing it is still difficult to block the pipe supposing that earlier the pipe was rushing with water.
Bending your brain yet?
Introducing the Memristor (or “Memory Resistor”)
The point of the Memristor is that the amount of electrical resistance depends on how much current has flown through it in the past. So, the resistance depends on its memory, hence, “Memristor.” In a real Memristor, it’s the movement of ions over nanometer (tiny) distances that creates this effect.
The Memristor is a new building block of computer processes. It is considered the fourth fundamental circuit element alongside the resistor, capacitor, and inductor.
It’s a unique kind of resistor circuit that remembers the last voltage that has been applied to it, even after the power is turned off. This is achieved by removing electrons from oxides in the Memristor.
Memristors can make a faster, cheaper, replacement for DRAM, flash memory and even disk drives. By combining memory and storage, Memristors enable what we call “universal memory,” radically increasing computing efficiency, and speed.
Another clear benefit of Memristor-based systems is that they wouldn’t require the time-consuming “boot-up” process that’s necessary today. Imagine a complete data centre able to recover almost immediately from a power failure, a process that takes hours or days today.
But the most valuable applications that Memristor technology enables—petascale analytics, distributed mesh computing and possibly using Memristors as logic devices—are yet to come.
IT manufacturers are taking the lead
Professor Leon Chua first came up with the theory in 1971. He was a distinguished faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at the University of California Berkeley.
Earlier in the year, HP announced a research project to use Memristors at the core of an architecture it’s calling “The Machine,” which should be ready as soon as the end of the decade. The Machine will use electrons for processing, photons for communication, and ions for storage, and can scale from handheld to data center size, making it capable of completely replacing current computer architectures.
Thanks to advancements like the Memristor the future is looking ultra-fast.
OK, brain bending is over. Relax now and get back to your email.
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8 best IT projects for a quiet January
For some of us the Christmas break is a chance to get some projects squared away before the new year gets into full swing.
Here are eight IT projects to help you improve your IT productivity ready for 2015:
1. Upgrade your servers. If you have a Windows 2003 server anywhere in your business it will go “end of life” in July 2015. There are literally thousands of 2003 servers to update and it is going to keep IT people very busy for months. So put it at the top of your list of your priorities.
2. Switch to cloud backup. If you have no backup or still using tapes or hard drives to back-up your data and systems, then now is the time to make use of your spare internet bandwidth and start uploading your files to a cloud backup solution.
3. Implement a CRM System. If you are still tracking your clients and suppliers in outlook address books or business cards then consider the latest options for setting up a customer relationship management tool. Make sure that it can connect to your social media world too so that you are not missing out on key opportunities in your market place.
4. Set up an intranet. This is great way to better manage your company information. There are a range of server-based or online tools that will help you with this activity.
5. Switch your telephone. Move to a unified communications system (VoIP, chat, and teleconferencing in one) so you can save money, improve your team communication and spend less time travelling to meetings in 2015.
6. Clean up your server rack. If you have one of those crazy spaghetti server racks with network cables going all over the place to the point where you can’t find the connections you need, then it’s probably a great time to strip it down and cable it up neatly.
7. Check your capacity. Adding storage or compute power over the quiet time will ensure you can work full steam ahead when things get busy later in the year. Of course if you have already moved to the cloud this is probably not an issue as it will expand to meet your needs.
8. Inbox clean-up. It is a great time to archive those old emails into an annual archive so you can dig them out by time range if you need them but don’t clog up your inbox with all that bulk you may never need.