Light Based Computers Could Make Computing Millions of Times Faster
Computers have come a long way in terms of power and performance over the years gone by. They continue to get faster and more energy efficient with every passing generation of processors. Engineers at Utah seem to have made a breakthrough in computing by creating themselves a computer that surpasses the current machines in terms of speed and efficiency. Say hello to light based computers which are currently under development at IBM and Intel.
A miniature beam splitter designed by Utah engineers can split light waves into a couple of distinct sources of information. Rather than the usual method of producing computing and shuttling data with electrons, it would allow production of silicon photonic chips. These will in turn enable them to compute data with light. Who knew computers operated with light would be a thing a few decades back?
Silicon photonic chips are capable of boosting speed and power of such devices as specialized computers, data center servers as well as supercomputers. Ultimately, the light based computer technology is expected to power home PCs along with smartphones. Given that light is the quickest means of information transmission, it is expected to enhance apps from video streaming to gaming.
Rajesh Menon, Computer and electrical engineering associate professor, explained that at the moment information needs to be converted to electrons before it reaches one’s laptop. During that phase of conversion, the reduction in speed is inevitable. The vision that fuels the idea of light based computers is to simply do everything in light.
To put it simply, photons of light currently carry all information on the internet via a number of fiber optic networks even now. However, as soon as the data stream reaches an office or somebody’s home, a PC can not handle the information unless the photons are converted into electrons.
There’s no denying that is an annoying limitation, one that can be avoided if the data stream could be sustained as light within the computers. Memon believes that light based computers would potentially make computing millions of times faster than it is at present.