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News Intel claims optical computing "milestone"

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 28 Jul 2010.

  1. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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  2. kenco_uk

    kenco_uk I unsuccessfully then tried again

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    I wonder how much it'd save on energy cost?

    Imagine if a pci-e slot had four of these optical lanes available.. and then imagine a gfx card that would saturate that bus. Like, woah.
     
  3. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    That's a good pun, cool tech btw
     
  4. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    It made me smile when I wrote it. I'm suitably ashamed.
     
  5. SlowMotionSuicide

    SlowMotionSuicide Come Hell or High Water

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    Then imagine the cost of making a game which would actually stress the said card:)
     
  6. Jack_Pepsi

    Jack_Pepsi Clan BeeR Founder

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    CGi (film) type graphics/physics... ymmmm! Still, substance over aesthetics - in this context anyway.
     
  7. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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  8. eddtox

    eddtox Homo Interneticus

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    Then imagine the cost of buying this Messiah of games and a computer to run it.

    And the disappointment when it turns out to have little going for it other than the pretty visuals.
     
  9. rickysio

    rickysio N900 | HJE900

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    Sort of like the non-Japanese Crysis?

    At least Japanese Crysis had the Wakamoto Suit.
     
  10. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    Call me when there's a drive that supports it.
     
  11. Lord-Vale3

    Lord-Vale3 His Tremendousness

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    Cool stuff, wonder how quick it will become a part of the industry?
     
  12. Altron

    Altron Well-Known Member

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    It has nothing to do with optical computing. It's not an advancement in optical computing.

    It's an efficient miniaturization of optical communication.

    All of the number crunching in these is still being done by electrons in silicon. The actual computing is done with electrical transistors. An electronic processor is cruching bits, then this thing is turning those bits into photon pulses, and then the photon pulses are being turned back into electrical bits, where another electronic processor is crunching them.

    An "optical computer" is one where the actual processors operate with light instead of electricity. It's a concept that is still far away. The nature of semiconductors allows electricity to control electricity, creating logic gates. As of 2010, we still haven't found a similar device that would allow light to control light. There's a huge amount of research being done in that field.

    But it's a misnomer to call this "optical computing". it's a good technology, but it is an optical communication interface, not an optical logic processor.

    It is cool to see miniaturization, and I wouldn't mind a link to a technical paper or something. I'm a little confused about the wording of a "silicon". Generally, fiber optics use fused silica. Is this fused silica (which is made from silicon), or some other silicon material? I'm also curious as to what lasers they are using, and what the wavelength is. As far as I knew, the current best technology available is fused silica fibers with semiconducter near-IR lasers at the dispersion minima at 1315nm and 1550nm. if this is a four channel device, it's probably around 1550nm, and is using different bands. One laser might be 1530nm, another 1540nm, another 1550nm, an the last at 1560nm. The other channels are not as efficient as 1550nm, but dispersion doesn't become a limiting factor until these links are several miles long, and we already have big bulky OC fiber for that. This small fiber communications modules would probably be made to make the network infrastructure completely fiber. Right now, we got fiber from the internet cloud to your doorstep, but then most home and businesses have copper from the PCs to the fiber switches in each building.
     
  13. maximus09

    maximus09 Forever n00b

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    nice, they should start introducing to all the servers in the world, would save a tonne of energy. Hope they recycle those old server components though!
     
  14. BlackRaven

    BlackRaven Freaking printers!

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    I concur with Altron as this has more to do with data transfer than actual processing. I would like to see the materials used etc. This could be a nice alternative for all the copper cabling inside buildings.
     
  15. jamie_macdonald

    jamie_macdonald New Member

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    -They can allways send me their old Xeon's xD

    Some nice advancments so far, looking forward to seeing how soon realisticaly this could end up inside all of our home computers ...That bandwidth is huge!!! :)
     
  16. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    its the lasers that are using silicon, instead of the normal gallium arsenide etc, this system is for use on motherboards, between the bus, processor, and memory etc. etc.

    you can make the boards lighter and more energy efficient, batteries will last longer, as you won't be losing power along the tracks of the motherboard. essentially, you would have a power bus, maybe just +5v to provide power only to the modules, all communication, between modules would be optical, not electrical.

    you could in theory get rid of the pci/pcie bus, and have a 2 wire connector to provide power only, with an optical connector for the data communication. i think that is the kind of goal they are looking at.
     
    Last edited: 28 Jul 2010
  17. Altron

    Altron Well-Known Member

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    Is it a silicon and gallium arsenide hybrid? Or all silicon. I didn't think an all silicon laser would work, unless it is something really nifty like a quantum cascade, but those are too far in the IR to be good over fiber.
     
  18. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    its all silicon, they dont want the other stuff, they like silicon.
     
  19. Altron

    Altron Well-Known Member

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    yeah but how does it work? Silicon is an indirect bandgap, so you can't make a semiconductor laser out of it like you can from gallium arsenide. I can double check my good friends Saleh and Teich when I get home, but I don't recall it being possible.

    Theoretically, they could make a quantum cascade laser out of silicon, but I have never heard of that being done, and typical QCLs are way outside the communications band.

    I think they are wording it wrong. It's gotta be gallium arsenide fabricated inside a silicon wavegide, where the actual laser medium is still gallium arsenide. I know Intel has been doing research in that. But all silicon? I have my doubts, but I'm very curious now for further info.
     
  20. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    maybe they are using quantum dots
     
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