IBM’s light fast communication technology between the computer systems

IBM has announced a technology that is said to be a “breakthrough optical communication technology” through which the company has utilized the light instead of electrical signals to send out information from one place to another. This technology has been announced by the company in San Francisco and it is called as “silicon nanophotonics”.

This progress forms a part of IBM’s “Exascale computing program,” which aims to develop a supercomputer that can make a million trillion calculations (a so-called “Exaflop”) per second.

In this technology, IBM has utilized single silicon chip that is made by using standard 90 nanometer manufacturing process and has integrated both the optical components and electrical circuits. This chip has the ability to transmit 25 Gigabits of optical data per second.

Falsely colored blue wires carry optical signals and the yellow wires carry electrical ones (Credit: IBM)

“When you do an internet search your data goes into a data centre and the information wanted might not be on just one chip or even one rack of chips,” Dr Solomon Assefa, a nanophotonics scientist at IBM Research, while telling the usefulness of this system, told the BBC.

“The information may be distributed across this huge data centre. The question is how to connect the chips together and do it fast. You want your results to come back to you very quickly.

“With existing technology given the amount of massive data that is flying round the network it is very difficult. With this new technology you can make this fast search happen in a way that makes economic sense.”

This chip is not only faster in processing data but the standard chip manufacturing process for this chip also removed the high cost of traditional interconnects.

“You could already do this using expensive parts but what IBM has done is said they can stamp these chips out for a much cheaper price in a factory in the same way that microprocessors are made.” Alan Woodward, visiting professor at the University of Surrey’s computing department, said in a statement to BBC.