My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: IBM develops 25Gbps Photonic Optical Processor at the 90nm level - IBM's Red Dawn for Optical Processors

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

IBM develops 25Gbps Photonic Optical Processor at the 90nm level - IBM's Red Dawn for Optical Processors



Just when the speed race for faster processors looked like it would’ve succumbed to the Heat dissipation problem associated with processor Speeds above 3.6Ghz, IBM (International Business Machines) proves them wrong yet again.

They’ve developed what I’d refer to as the First Optical Processor for an Optical computer, which I predict will be utilized in 2013 by Apple and commercialized by 2015, based on the pace of Research. Using Fiber Optic waveguides at the 90nm Fabrication level, IBM’s managed to produce a Processor capable of speeds of 25Gbps, which translates to 25GHz Clock speed as stated in the article “IBM pushes silicon Photonics with on-chip Optics”, published December 9, 2012 9:01 PM PST by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.


This is great news as it auger well for the development of the Optical Processor as well as the Optical Computer, where Data is manipulated and stored as Photons instead of energetic electrons. The advantages are numerous:

1.      Faster Clock speeds
2.      Less Mechanical and moving parts
3.      Storage of Data in Light, making Data access literally at the Speed of Light
4.      Capability to handle Faster speeds of 4G LTE Networks in the Future
5.      Reduced Heat Dissipation, as its Photons in Optical Waveguides, not Electrons in Semiconductor


Several Developments have already taken place that point to the development of an Optical Computer sometime in 2013:

1.      The development of the Fiber Optic-based Thunderbolt Port which was originally codenamed LightPeak as noted in my blog article entitled “Intel and LightPeak - Race towards the Sun”.
2.      Use of Thunderbolt in Apple’s products, beginning with the Macbook Pro as noted in my blog article entitled “MacBook Pro and Intel LightPeak - Thunderbolt and The Fantastic Mr. Fox
3.      The introduction of the Lightning connector to the Apple iPhone 5, the Apple iPad and the Apple iPad Mini, which is based on the Thunderbolt Port Standard from Intel as described in “Apple now shipping Lightning to 30-pin adapters”, published October 8, 2012 4:57 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News
4.      IBM and 3M’s collaboration to develop and Adhesive for stacking processors together to create an Iso-Linear SCoC (Super Computer on a Chip) as described in my blog article entitled “IBM and 3M to develope adhesive for Iso-Linear Processor - Rihanna's Umbrella for Intel's SuperComputer on a Chip
5.      University of California’s Development of a Nanoscale Laser as described in my blog article entitled “University of California Researchers develop 1 micron nanoscale Laser - Optical SCoC Revival of the Apple G4 Cube
6.      Hitachi of Japan’s developed a means of Storing Data in Quartz Glass and reading it using an Optical Laser as noted in my blog article entitled “Hitachi develops Eternal Storage using Bits embedded in Quartz Glass for 2015 Debut – Diamonds are Forever until WRECK-IT Ralph Breaks the Ice”.

Combine the above and the obvious becomes clear; Iso-Linear SCoC Processor are coming to Tablets and Smartphones sometime in 2013 with commercialization in 2015. Effectively souped-up Multi-Core Processors, they’ll need considerable cooling than their Electrical Low-voltage counterparts developed by Intel.

Enter Optical Processors development by IBM. Due to their use of Laser Source, which may be similar to that developed by the University of California, as opposed to an Electric Source for Data Storage and Retrieval, they can operate at a Cooler temperature and still achieve phenomenal clock speeds.

Such Optical Processor can achieve higher clock speeds than is currently possible with Silicon Processors. But to interface with External Devices, they’ll need Optical Ports, which is where the Thunderbolt and Lightning Port come into play. Granted, it’s still a metallic contact that’s used in the Thunderbolt and Lightning Port for Apple’s products. But Intel’s original Technology was based on Fiber Optics which powers the Ports, with Electrical styled connectors for interfacing with the products instead of purely Fiber Optic.


Thus a move back to purely Fiber Optic ports may be on the cards based on these trends, leading to the Development of purely Optical Computers. There are examples of Processor Intensive Tasks in Servers, and eventually Tablets and smartphones would be enabled by such significantly faster Optical Processor Development, once they reach the 22nm level:


2.      Autonomous Self-Driving Vehicles, the closest thing to AI (Artificial Intelligence) driving for humans as predicted in my blog article entitled Volvo Testing Autonomous Motor Vehicles in Spain in Live Traffic - EU Project SARTRE adds self-driving AI with smartphone Control”.

3.      Applications in the Medical Field such as Simulation of Surgical Procedures as described in my blog article entitled UWI Medical Sciences Students get deal on JL Mobile SmartTab Tablets and cheaper ebook versions of Textbooks - From Gross Anatomy to Islandwide Push towards Tablet Adoption

The possibilities are endless and heralds IBM’s Red Dawn (2012) for Optical Processors.
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