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Photonics Processor Aimed at AI Inference

#artificialintelligence

Silicon photonics is exhibiting greater innovation as requirements grow to enable faster, lower-power chip interconnects for traditionally power-hungry applications like AI inferencing. With that in mind, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched a startup in 2017 called Lightmatter Inc. to develop silicon photonic processors. Another goal was leveraging optical computing to "decouple" AI processing from Moore's law scaling that according to the company founders literally produces more heat than light. Lightmatter announced an AI photonic "test chip" during this week's Hot Chips conference positioned as an AI inference accelerator using light to process and transport data. The 3D module incorporates a 12- and 90-nm ASIC, the latter supporting photonics processing steps such as laser monitoring and light distribution.