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IBM silicon photonics to speed up cloud and ‘big data’ rates

13/05/2015 by Sharon Shahzad


IBM has this week announced “a significant milestone” in its development of silicon photonics technology that will enable rapid data transmission over longer distances in future computing systems.

In March, reported how IBM researchers had attached silicon photonic chips directly to a processor, promising faster, cheaper and lower energy solution for computing, cloud and data centers.

In the latest statement released on May 12, the company said, “for the first time, IBM engineers have designed and tested a fully integrated wavelength multiplexed silicon photonics chip, which will enable manufacturing of 100 Gb/s optical transceivers. This will allow datacenters to offer greater data rates and bandwidth for cloud computing and ‘big data’ applications.”

Arvind Krishna, senior VP and director of IBM Research, commented, “Making silicon photonics technology ready for widespread commercial use will help the semiconductor industry keep pace with the growing demands in computing power driven by big data and cloud services. Just as fiber optics revolutionized the telecommunications industry by speeding up the flow of data, we are excited about the potential of replacing electric signals with pulses of light.”

The company added that its latest Si-photonics development will enables the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip using sub-100nm semiconductor technology. These chips use four distinct wavelengths in an optical fiber to carry data around a computing system. The new transceiver can digitally share the equivalent of 63 million tweets or six million images, or download a high-definition digital movie in just two seconds.

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