Modern computers, from supercomputers to the smartphone in your pocket, all use a computing unit that does calculation and a separate memory unit that holds programs. Shuttling information back and forth between these two places takes lots of energy and time. A new idea, memcomputing, relies on components that works much more like the human brain, where the computing and storing units—neurons—are physically the same. This could mean a giant leap forward in computer speed and efficiency, and scientists are starting to experiment with memcomputing components to learn the best ways to use them. Massimiliano Di Ventra, a professor in the department of physics at the University of California, San Diego, and co-author of "Just Add Memory" in the February issue of Scientific American, explains how he envisions building a truly brainlike computer in this video.
This article was originally published with the title "Just Add Memory" in Scientific American 312, 2, (February 2015)