The Europeon Union have recently supported the creation of a project called VERSATILE which is focusing on the examination of crossbar architectures for the creation of non-volatile memory. Crossbar architectures have been applied to the creation of programmable logic devices in the past few decades but only recently have been proposed at the nanometer level by companies such as Hewlett-Packard (using nanowires) and Nantero (using nanotubes). One key advantages of using crossbar architectures for memory is that they would be able to provide resources useful for both reconfigurable computing and for data storage. This is in strict contrast to conventional processor architectures which segregate the memory circuitry from the logic circuitry and is closer to the type of organization found in the brain which integrates signal processing and memory storage.
While start-up companies such as Numonyx and Unity Semiconductor are focusing on crossbar architectures for non-volatile memory, DARPA has not overlooked the more far reaching applications of this technology and has created a program called SYNAPSE to fund IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and HRL Labs to conduct research in neuromorphic (i.e. brainlike) computational architectures based on some of the crossbar architectures.