IEF2011: HP to replace flash and SSD in 2013

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HP intends to have an alternative technology to flash on the market in eighteen months, an alternative to DRAM in three to four years and, following DRAM, a replacement for SRAM, Stan Williams, Senior Fellow at HP, told the IEF2011 meeting in Seville this morning.

“We’re planning to put a replacement chip on the market to go up against flash within a year and a half,” said Williams, “and we also intend to have an SSD replacement available in a year and a half.”

“In 2014 possibly, or certainly by 2015, we will have a competitor for DRAM and then we’ll replace SRAM.”

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“Flash is a done deal,” said Williams, “now we’re going after DRAM, and we think we can do two orders of magnitude improvement in terms of switching energy per bit.”

HP’s technology allows the memory layers to be put directly on top of the processor layer making for very fast systems on chip.

“We put the non-volatile memory right on top of the processor chip, and, because you’re not shipping data off-chip, that means we get the equivalent of 20 years of Moore’s Law performance improvement,” said Williams.

“We’re running hundreds of wafers through the fab,” said Williams, we’re way ahead of where we thought we would be at this moment in time.”

HP’s approach is memristor, thin film technology which it allows it to stack an “arbitrary number of layers,” said Williams, with 500 bn memristors per layer at 5nm.

Asked if HP was going back into the components business, Williams replied: “We’re the world’s largest purchaser of DRAM and the second largest buyer of flash and we’re trying to disrupt and re-arrange our supply chain. The plan is to license this technology to anyone who wants it, and we’ll teach them how to make it. But you’ll have to stand in line, we have a bunch of people queued for it. We’re doing this because, frankly, we didn’t see a hell of a lot of innovation happening out there.”

Asked about the competition, Williams said: “Samsung has an even larger group working on this than we do.”

Williams was appointed by David Packard to get HP into nanotechnology. HP has supported his efforts ever since. “I’ve been through seven CEOs and never had a glitch or a downturn,” said Williams.

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