Tuesday, 03 November 2015 19:53

A Fireside Chat about Optical Computing, with Mike Williams

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A Fireside Chat about Optical Computing, with Mike Williams http://www.extremetech.com

Optical Computing.


It uses photons of light to transmit information rather than electrons.  Ongoing research and development for optical computing has shown promise since the ‘80s. There are several advantages to optical computing, but necessary research and develop­ment still needs to be completed. Every month HITECH shines a light on the technology of our future- This month’s Fireside Chats is on Optical Computing.

Optical computing is an umbrella term that encompasses many different technologies which harness the speed of light inside our com­puter. Besides speed, light has other properties can be used to increase computer performance. Electronic computers produce quite a bit of heat- Electrons create friction which results in our computers heating up. Optical computing may provide a way for us to do away with fans which results in very quiet computers with less mechical parts that can fail.

There’s still work to be done before optical computers can replace electronic computers. Optical technology has been developed piece­meal- a processor here, a memory chip over there. These new technologies use light to perform a specific role inside a computer but then convert the signal back to a conventional electrical signal. To harness the higher theoretical performance of optical computing, most or all of a computer needs to be optical.   

Additional challenges such as rethinking processor architecture, working with new materials, building production infrastructure, and min­iaturizing the technology for consumer use is still being tackled. There are consistent, promising breakthroughs in optical computing but there are years to go until it’s ready for consumers. If this seems like science fiction, remember many people use fiberoptic internet con­nections everyday. What fiber optics has done for internet speeds, light based computing promises to do for our computers.      





Read 5052 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 November 2015 23:05
Mike Williams

Mike has been with HITECH since November 2011. He is a man of many hobbies, including drums, bikes and beer. Some of his certifications include: A+, Network+, MCPS, MCNPS, MS, Watchguard Firewalls


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