A Memristor True Random-Number Generator

Noise in a compact resistive memory could bring true random digits to low-power logic

3 min read
Overhead image of numbers
Photo: iStockphoto

img Contact RRAM: The resistive memory cell sits between a tungsten contact and the transistor's drain region. Photo: National Tsing Hua University

12 July 2012—Engineers in Taiwan say they’ve invented a tiny low-power circuit based on memristors that could improve the security of data transmission over the Internet and of using Near Field Communication (NFC) from smartphone wallets. The security of many digital transactions depends on generating truly random numbers, something that’s difficult to do using today’s digital circuits, which typically produce numbers that aren’t completely random. The new memristor circuit rapidly spits out true random numbers while consuming less energy compared with other techniques, according to research in an upcoming issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters.

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A Circuit to Boost Battery Life

Digital low-dropout voltage regulators will save time, money, and power

11 min read
Image of a battery held sideways by pliers on each side.
Edmon de Haro

YOU'VE PROBABLY PLAYED hundreds, maybe thousands, of videos on your smartphone. But have you ever thought about what happens when you press “play”?

The instant you touch that little triangle, many things happen at once. In microseconds, idle compute cores on your phone's processor spring to life. As they do so, their voltages and clock frequencies shoot up to ensure that the video decompresses and displays without delay. Meanwhile, other cores, running tasks in the background, throttle down. Charge surges into the active cores' millions of transistors and slows to a trickle in the newly idled ones.

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