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I'm reading through Jim Williams' "Analog Circuit Design: Art, Science and Personalities", and a mysterious component called a crysistor is mentioned. There are a few clues in the text, like the fact that it was a superconducting magnetic memory that "showed promise of revolutionizing the computer world". I can't find any reference to the crysistor aside from this book. What was the crysistor and how did it work?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have heard of components called memristors that somewhat fits your description. But I haven't heard of "crysistors" as such. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adithya
    Oct 27 '14 at 16:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I assume cry-sistor is a cryogenic resistor. Maybe a Squid? (That's at least super conductiong and magnetic.) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's a good guess, considering SQUIDs were invented in 1964-1965. I'm not sure how old the author of that chapter (Samuel Wilensky) was at the time, but it seems plausible. \$\endgroup\$
    – aloishis89
    Oct 27 '14 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I heard there was an effort to make computers with Josephson jucntions at IBM..w2agz.com/Library/Superconductivity/… \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ This IEEE pdf briefly mentions it in an article about Cryosistors. Page 353 (4th of pdf) in the Figure 1 text it uses Crysistor by name. Can't tell from the text if it's saying you make a Cryosistor from a Crysistor? ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=4066276 \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 18:10
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I suspect it might have been the conflation of cryosistor (a completely different germanium cryogenic unijunction-like device that worked on the principle of impact ionization) and crytron (not to be confused with the krytron which is used to make loud noises).


I think he was referring specifically to the crytron and got the name mixed up a bit in his memory.


The chapter is not error-free (for example, it refers to "new low-temperature superconductors" which would not be an advantage, especially compared to liquid helium).

Here is the actual quote, courtesy of Google books:

enter image description here

The IBM paper describing the crytron which I linked above was published in October of 1957, so it would have been fresh news in 1959 when Mr. Wilensky graduated.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I love those names. Although my favorite -tron device is the carcinotron, because it just sounds diabolical. \$\endgroup\$
    – aloishis89
    Oct 27 '14 at 17:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aloishis89 LOL. It looks pretty diabolical too! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice, I think he just forgot the -o-. Re: the cryosistor, Thanks for the cyrosistor link! (I'll note that they used indium to make an alloyed p-n junction in Ge. +1 just for that!) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GeorgeHerold I don't think so. The cryosistor is completely different. Mr. Wilensky described what he heard about as a "superconducting magnetic memory". I think it was the crytron, which fits the time frame and the description is the same. The cryosistor was a bit too late, I think (1960 and he graduated in '59). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 18:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Spehro, OK fair enough. (And just to muddy the already murky waters what about the cryotron? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryotron (maybe the same thing but GE added the -o- and IBM didn't.) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27 '14 at 18:41

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