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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Neuristor  
  A solid-state computer component that mimics the human neuron.  

"Neuristor" is a term coined by visionary computer science engineer Hewitt Crane in his PhD thesis in 1958. The basic idea was that a solid-state device could mimic the characteristics of the human neuron. For example, it would offer a similar finite refractory period and lossless propagation. It's probably formed from "transistor" and "neuron".

They kept hooking hardware into him - decision-action boxes to let him boss other computers, bank on bank of additional memories, more banks of associational neural nets, another tubful of twelve-digit random numbers, a greatly augmented temporary memory. Human brain has around ten-to-the-tenth neurons. By third year Mike had better than one and a half times that many neuristors.
Technovelgy from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by GP Putnam in 1966
Additional resources -

Roger Zelazny also used it in his Hugo Award-winning novella Home is the Hangman. The following quote is from a related 1976 story The Force That Through the Circuit Drives the Current:

That brain is actually functioning. I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it. Apparently, I fed it sufficient activity, it took in sufficient data… It formed its own paths. It did—learn.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Neuristor-related news articles:
  - Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials

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