After a 40 year search, scientists believe that they have made a finding that could revolutionise computing.

The team from Hewlett-Packard claim to have discovered a fourth type of basic electrical circuit that could fundamentally change how computers work in the future.

The main claim is that the new circuit would mean that computers will not have to boot up.

Here's the science bit - until this finding, scientists believed that there were three elements in electric circuits - resistors, capacitors and inductors.

Way back in the 1970s, one Leon Chua of the University of California at Berkeley, suggested that there was a fourth element which he called a memory resistor, or memristor.

Now, the HP team has proven that "memristance" exists.

It has been described in terms of a garden hose - in a regular circuit, the water flows from more than one direction, but in a memory resistor, the hose remembers what direction the water (or current) is flowing from, and it expands in that direction to improve the flow. If water or current flows from the other direction, the hose shrinks, explains Reuters.

For computer designers this means new "memory circuits" that will remember where a computer is even if it has been turned off.

Now computers use dynamic random access memory or DRAM, which is lost when the power goes off; and then machines have to boot up to "find" themselves.