Linked by fran on Tue 24th Aug 2010 22:09 UTC
Intel "Intel Corporation announced an important advance in the quest to use light beams to replace the use of electrons to carry data in and around computers. The company has developed a research prototype representing the world's first silicon-based optical data connection with integrated lasers. The link can move data over longer distances and many times faster than today's copper technology; up to 50 gigabits of data per second. This is the equivalent of an entire HD movie being transmitted each second."
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RE[3]: Not impressed
by ndrw on Wed 25th Aug 2010 15:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not impressed"
ndrw
Member since:
2009-06-30

Optical data transfer is reality but please don't mix it with optical computing (which, as it is today, is a hoax). Yes, you can make some basic nonlinear optical only blocks (e.g. mixers) but there is little chance they will scale down to sizes comparable to single transistors anytime soon.

Even integrating (hybrid) lasers on chip was problematic. If I understand Intel's presentation correctly, they had to modify the manufacturing process in order to do this. These cells are also not exactly like what you would call "small" or "low power". High speed IO cells can easily occupy area 10000x larger than that of a single CMOS NAND gate and I'm pretty sure Intel's optical IO isn't very different in that respect.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Not impressed
by Neolander on Wed 25th Aug 2010 21:15 in reply to "RE[3]: Not impressed"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

No, sure, it's not for tomorrow. And it will never be as powerful as current high-end processors due to some diffraction issues, except if some current research on sub-wavelength light confinement prove to be successful.

But there are many areas where we don't need the power of current cpus. Most offices, as an example, would be just fine with PIII-equivalents for everyday work. And using light, there are things like Fourier transform which can be done much, much faster than with current electronic components...

I think that all-optical computing has its place in a long-term future. But only time will tell.

Reply Parent Score: 2