Light To Replace Copper Wires In Computers

Posted: March 4, 2008 in Future of Computers
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Scientists at IBM recently completed research which may soon result in supercomputers the size of current notebooks.

Light To Replace Copper Wires In ComputersThis would be achieved by replacing existing copper wires used to couple processing cores together with a silicon Mach-Zehnder electro-optic modulator, which would allow light to pass the data. The connector created by the team uses light to pass data between the computational cores that is faster and uses less power than copper wires.

With light the researchers, led by Dr Will Green, can cut the amount of power needed to move data between processors and slash the amount of heat a large computational cluster produces.

The technology, which can transfer data up to a distance of a few centimetres, is about 100 times faster than wires and consumes one-tenth as much power, said Dr Green.

So the lower power requirement should reduce operational costs for supercomputers.

“What we have done is a significant step toward building a vastly smaller and more power-efficient way to connect those cores, in a way nobody has done before,” said Dr Tze-chiang Chen, a spokesman for IBM’s science and technology research division.

But this technology is still in labs, so it would take few years to see this technology in the market.

Read more on BBC.


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