Computing With Light


This article will look at a technology for AI inference processing using light rather than electrons from LIghtmatter and combined with traditional CMOS including SRAM memory. This article is based upon an interview with Lightmatter CEO, Nick Harris. The company sees this product being useful for data center inference and perhaps eventually in some AI computation intensive industrial and consumer applications (such as autonomous vehicles). There are widely cited forecasts that project accelerating information and communications technology (ICT) energy consumption increases through the 2020's with a 2018 Nature article estimating that if current trends continue, this will consume more than 20% of electricity demand by 2030. At several industry events I have heard talks that say one of the important limits of data center performance will be the amount of energy consumed.

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