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IBM Slows Light: Announces Major Milestone for Optical Computing

post #1 of 9
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Here's the quantum computing that we've all been talking about!

Quote:
Researchers have effectively delayed light's travel for the purpose of chips


IBM has announced that its researchers have built a device capable of delaying the flow of light on a silicon chip, which could lead the further development of using light instead of electricity to transfer data. Researchers have known that the use of optical instead of electrical signals for transferring data within a computer chip might result in significant performance enhancements since light signals can carry more information faster. The engineering challenge is buffering data on the chip, which is difficult given light’s speed. Thus, a means of using light effectively is to delay its travel.

Long delays can be achieved by passing light through optical fibers. IBM scientists were able to delay light by passing it through a new form of silicon-based optical delay line built of up to 100 cascaded "micro-ring resonators," built using current silicon complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) fabrication tools. When the optical waveguide is curved to form a ring, light is forced to circle multiple times, delaying its travel. The optical buffer device based on this simple concept can briefly store 10 bits of optical information within an area of 0.03 square millimeters. This advancement could potentially lead to integrating hundreds of these devices on one computer chip, an important step towards on-chip optical communications.

"Today's more powerful microprocessors are capable of performing much more work if we can only find a way to increase the flow of information within a computer," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president of Science and Technology for IBM Research. "As more and more data is capable of being processed on a chip, we believe optical communications is the way to eliminate these bottlenecks. As a result, the focus in high-performance computing is shifting from improvements in computation to those in communication within the system."

The report on this work, "Ultra-compact optical buffers on a silicon chip," is published in the premiere issue of the journal Nature Photonics. This work was partially supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Defense Sciences Office program "Slowing, Storing and Processing Light."
Does this mean that AMD will get first dibs on this technology whenever it does come out??
    
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post #2 of 9
I think it goes to the highest bidder (Chipzilla).

Overall good read.
    
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post #3 of 9
Really neat technology to ponder.. have to go back to my basic Physics.. lol
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post #4 of 9
Simply put- There have been oogles of super technology that has been literally waiting for things like this to happen. Now we will slowly start to see the trickle in of 'new-yet-surprisingly-old' technolgy, or old stuff w/ a crazy tech twist that makes it applicable for todays world.

If your mobo had fiber traces in it, instead of copper traces, we might measure 'throughput' in something higher than GHZ !
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman786 View Post
I think it goes to the highest bidder (Chipzilla).

Overall good read.
Chipzilla has had a working silicon laser for about a year now. I would say they are more likely to just work with their own research and snub tech from other companies
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post #6 of 9
Intel has no interest in this technology (nor does AMD) because it would require a 100% transition of its fabs. It would cost billions of dollars to change the fabs to produce this stuff, and they just are not familiar enough to do it. I have been saying for quite some time that IBM will eventually force AMD and Intel to switch to fiber optic processing. This method that IBM came up with is actually fairly simple. You don't slow down the light, you just make it go farther. Great stuff.
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldovi View Post
Intel has no interest in this technology (nor does AMD) because it would require a 100% transition of its fabs. It would cost billions of dollars to change the fabs to produce this stuff, and they just are not familiar enough to do it. I have been saying for quite some time that IBM will eventually force AMD and Intel to switch to fiber optic processing. This method that IBM came up with is actually fairly simple. You don't slow down the light, you just make it go farther. Great stuff.
i don't know i think AMD and Intel would be interested in this because they want to look into future improvements because once they reach the limit on how small a hole they can make an electron travel through they will need something so why not look into it now? it's going to happen.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by {core2duo}werd View Post
i don't know i think AMD and Intel would be interested in this because they want to look into future improvements because once they reach the limit on how small a hole they can make an electron travel through they will need something so why not look into it now? it's going to happen.
Intel and AMD rely on the ignorance of their customers. They can avoid processing to a far superior technology by making small improvements in their current technology for years. Intel and AMD can continue to make billions selling processors based off of electrical signal and avoid spending billions to transits to a new technology. There are only two things that will force Intel and AMD to this technology, IBM and time.
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post #9 of 9
big blue strikes back. why do i picture ibm as darth vader?
    
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