Stan Williams – ACE Innovator of the Year

HP Labs director Prith Banerjee

Dr. Williams receiving the
ACE award from Paul Miller,
CEO of Tech Insights. Photo
by Trish Tunney (EETimes)

March 31, 2009 – HP Labs Senior Fellow Stan Williams is the winner of this year’s EETimes ACE Award for Innovator of the Year. He was presented with the award at a ceremony that took place during the Embedded System Conference in San Jose, California.

This award goes to an individual or individuals who have brought leadership, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to technology, a product or business.

Dr. Williams, director of the Information and Quantum Systems Lab, was recognized for his breakthrough work that proved the existence of the fourth fundamental element of electronic circuitry – the “memristor.”

Short for memory resistor, the memristor, could make it possible to develop far more energy-efficient computing systems with memories that retain information even after the power is off, so there's no wait for the system to boot up after turning the computer on.

Dr. Williams sees two types of applications for memristors and memristive devices.

The first, as the name "memory resistor" implies, is for a type of non-volatile random access memory, or NVRAM. Such a memory would have very useful properties, in that it would not 'forget' the data that it stores when the power is turned off.

Another interesting application is as an 'artificial synapse' in a circuit designed for analog computation.

Dr. Williams joined HP Labs in 1996 as principal laboratory scientist and director of the Quantum Structures Research Initiative. Previously, he was a chemistry professor at UCLA and a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories.