IBM lights up silicon chips to tackle Big Data
IBM has announced a major advance in the ability to use light instead of electrical signals to transmit information for future computing.
The breakthrough technology – silicon nanophotonics – allows the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip – using, for the first time, sub-100nm semiconductor technology.
Silicon nanophotonics takes advantage of pulses of light for communication and provides a super highway for large volumes of data to move at rapid speeds between computer chips in servers, large data centres, and supercomputers, thus alleviating the limitations of congested data traffic and high-cost traditional interconnects.
'This technology breakthrough is a result of more than a decade of pioneering research at IBM,' said John Kelly, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. 'This allows us to move silicon nanophotonics technology into a real-world manufacturing environment that will have impact across a range of applications.'
The amount of data being created and transmitted over enterprise networks continues to grow due to an explosion of new applications and services. Silicon nanophotonics, now primed for commercial development, can enable the industry to keep pace with increasing demands in chip performance and computing power.