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Intel Devises Chip Speed Breakthrough

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the zoom-zoom-zoom dept.

Intel 465

Chad Wood writes "According to the New York Times (free reg. req.), Intel has demonstrated a research breakthrough, making silicon chips that can switch light like electricity. The article explains:''This opens up whole new areas for Intel,' said Mario Paniccia, a an Intel physicist, who started the previously secret Intel research program to explore the possibility of using standard semiconductor parts to build optical networks. 'We're trying to siliconize photonics.' The invention demonstrates for the first time, Intel researchers said, that ultrahigh-speed fiberoptic equipment can be produced at personal computer industry prices. As the costs of communicating between computers and chips falls, the barrier to building fundamentally new kinds of computers not limited by physical distance should become a reality, experts say.'"

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first post!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254665)

haha! i got it!

Re:first post!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Rusty Bedsprings (720146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254686)

... and you wasted it like the cack-handed tea bagger that you are.

You're damn right you got it. (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254691)

Too bad this is a dupe, and I got fp on the original. LoLoloLOlol!!

DUPE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254762)

IT RIMES WITH POOP

DUPE! (-1, Troll)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254667)

DUPE [slashdot.org]

DEAN (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254668)

Reg-free link (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254671)

MOD PARENT DOWN! IWON BOUNCE LINK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254893)

don't do that.

Google link (KW) (5, Informative)

jaxdahl (227487) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254673)

No req. required [nytimes.com]

Intel's secret breakthrough (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254675)

"We've taken two AMD chips and put them both dual configuration with a giant 'Intel' sticker on top. Then, we sell it for twice what we paid, and get the lusers... err, I mean... users to buy it because it says 'Intel Inside.'"

Re:Intel's secret breakthrough (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254692)

My 75Mhz SuperSPARC II is faster than any silly AMD box you could ever get. AFAIK

Re:Intel's secret breakthrough (0)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254823)

So that's why Prescott runs so hot!

Re:Intel's secret breakthrough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254890)

What a waste of effort. Grab one low end AMD chip, halve the clock speed, call it an 'Apple G6,' and sell it for 10-20X the price.

Re:Intel's secret breakthrough (-1, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254905)

AND IT WORKS BETTER!

Face it. Intel is worth the difference in price because of reliability and the lack of bullshit in their marketing.

I own an AMD 64-bit "3000+" microprocessor-based computer, and an Intel 32-bit 2200MHz computer, and the difference between them is that the Intel is faster.

mmmm (4, Interesting)

josh3736 (745265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254676)

So when do I get my new high-speed fiber line? :D

Can someone tell me.... (1, Interesting)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254679)

Does this mean that we may be able to overclack without regard to temperature? Will optical technology make the processors run cool? I really hope so.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (0, Redundant)

RandBlade (749321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254712)

Not exactly, no. Ever put your hand on a lamp after a few hours? Lights are not exactly cool. Optics uses very small lights so isn't going to generate much heat, but it will still develop some, and there will as always come a point where that will be a serious concern. Done well, optical technology may be cooler than existing technologies, however we will still need to worry about overheating the equipment. Like most technologies, this could help push back the limits, not abolish them.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254737)

Perhaps your lights aren't cool, but you're probably using a highly wasteful incandescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs run at lower wattages, and produce significantly less heat.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254782)

Perhaps your lights aren't cool, but you're probably using a highly wasteful incandescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs run at lower wattages, and produce significantly less heat.

They also require ballasting that operates at anywhere from 60hz (very old type ballasts) to 25k hertz (semi modern) to 100k hertz (modern) which might cause some problems with chips. So I rather doubt they will use fluorescent lamp technology for chip ;) I would assume they would diode, but virtually any light produces waste heat, or the mechanism to produce the light does anyway.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (1, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254751)

Who modded this insightful? Lamps are hot because that's how incadescent technology works. Fluorescent and LED lights do not get hot.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (2, Informative)

RandBlade (749321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254842)

Flourescent and LED lights do generate heat, just not to the same order of magnitude as incadescent lights. Its significantly less, which I specifically mentioned in the post! However there is still some heat generated. If you place a lot of LED lights together though then they can generate enough heat as to become significant.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (5, Informative)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254844)

Fluorescent and LED lights do not get hot.

Sure they do. They are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs, so they produce significantly less heat per lumen, but a very bright fluorescent or LED light can get quite hot.

In fact, high-brightness LEDs like the Luxeon Star have to be mounted on heat sinks to keep them from burning up.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (2, Insightful)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254854)

Who modded this insightful? Lamps are hot because that's how incadescent technology works. Fluorescent and LED lights do not get hot.

Not even LEDs are 100% efficient. However, for an optical system, the heat production is related to the duty cycle of the lamps, rather than the switching speed, so the heat production should remain constant regardless of clock speed.

On the one hand, this means you don't need to improve cooling to overclock. On the other, it means that you can't improve the overclock level with improved cooling.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (3, Informative)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254909)

"Fluorescent and LED lights do not get hot."

This is not true. They do get hot, just not as hot. They don't require as much energy to generate light.

With that said, the question really can only be answered after we know about the design of the chip. If all the light emitting aspects of the chip can be run at full intensity without ever being turned off, and the chip can survive that, then the answer is yes, you can overclock it to the max without it burning out. Will the chips work that way? Well I don't know. We are talking about very small components.

His question was quite valid.

As a duck (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254744)

I am far more interested in overquacking then I am in overclacking.
overclocking is right out. ;)

Re:Can someone tell me.... (1)

CeleronXL (726844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254747)

This would still be very nice. I can't see a light generating enough heat to warrant anything more than a heatsink. Bye bye noisy CPU fan...

Re:Can someone tell me.... (5, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254856)

temperature, is really not the problem. The problem is stabilization. Different gates "stabilize" that is produce consitant output high or low at different rates, gates are strung together into circuits on the chip and thouse circuits then take a certain amount of time to stabilize, this is critical because the output of one circuit will be the input to another be it on the same IC or interfacing with something else. The reason you can overclock is in most cases ICs in computers the CPU in particular are underclocked to begin with. The clock cycle is longer then the stabiliation time when the chip is cool. However the voltage running though the traces and the swiches meets some resistence and part of it is disipated as heat, when silicon-eletric gates heat the respond slower and the stabilization time becomes longer, so the clock cycle must be longer if you want correct output. This is why if you take special meausers to keep the chip cooler you can often run it faster. Fiberoptics are not perfect and can heat too, the smaller you make them that problem is likely to exacerbate. The question I can't answer for you is wether that is a problem at all. silicon-optic gates may not vary in stabilization time in the same way that the electric counter parts do? They may and then the same rules apply or they could have some optimal temp where a cold chip does not work as well as a warm one? It might be they work perfectly up to a certain failure point?
I would love some answers form an engineer who is working with this stuff.

Re:Can someone tell me.... (5, Funny)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254891)

Um, that might not be wise. If you try to overclock past the speed of light, I think that will cause a rift in the Time/Space Continuum. :P

We all know, of course. . . (4, Funny)

jafac (1449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254681)

that it will have to be x86 compatible, or it will never fly.

Re:We all know, of course. . . (0, Redundant)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254718)

yeah, as there's no other chips out there than x86 cpu chips.

even toasters have them(amd joke here or a prescott one whatever you prefer).

EMP (5, Funny)

potpie (706881) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254683)

This kind of technology seems like a very healthy step toward making computers resistant to electromagnetic waves and/or pulses (aided also by the rise of optical storage devices), which is great for us humans now. But now what are we going to use against the "squiddies" when they come for our hovercrafts?

Re:EMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254723)

yeah, because of course the photons are made by sound waves ;p

Re:EMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254759)

Nukes.

Re:EMP (1, Offtopic)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254829)

But now what are we going to use against the "squiddies" when they come for our hovercrafts?

180mm smoothbore cannons and armour-piercing rounds.

Re:EMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254861)

The new EMP bomb: a LED flashlight.

NYTimes Reg (-1, Informative)

slashdot2004 (750446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254684)

User: slashdot
Password: slashdot


More [bugmenot.com]

Re:NYTimes Reg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254729)

-1 they don't work.

GOATSE redirect!!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254733)

Be careful, the site redirects to GOATSE when using that username/password combination. Not safe for work!

Re:NYTimes Reg (1, Offtopic)

Drantin (569921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254786)

It's actually easier to google for the URL then click the link to it so you have google.com as a referrer...

Re:NYTimes Reg (-1, Troll)

slashdot2004 (750446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254800)

Sorry all. Seems those accounts have been disabled.

Username: infowants
Password: tobefree

Re:NYTimes Reg (0)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254802)

My friend you ROCK!

I have a name and ID of my own...but shit what a good idea...gives a whole new meaning to slashdot effect.

Another day, another dupe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254687)

first time around [slashdot.org]

Re:Another day, another dupe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254798)

Except the link you linked to is THIS article! ;-)

Still binary.. (4, Insightful)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254689)

When we get off of binary, then we'll be making progress, in my humble opinion. I mean, we've been using binary for-ever! Imagine the size and speed gains we would get if we could now have three or four states per bit.

Re:Still binary.. (1)

bwy (726112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254711)

Sounds like a job for...
Quantum Physics.

Hey, isn't IBM already on that one?

+3 Interesting??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254735)

Who the fuck modded this shit up? Idiots.

Re:Still binary.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254741)

There have been experimetnal ternary computing devices in the past (base 3), and slashdot had a post over a year ago where some people proved that 'e' was the most efficient radix (number of digits required to represent valuea vs. complexity of each place value)

Re:Still binary.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254808)

How do you have a non-integer radix? AFAIK, in the base-n systems we know and love, each number in a sequence can be any integer from 0 to n - 1. This doesn't make any sense with n = e.

Maybe we're talking about a different kind of representation from N = a_0 + n*a_1 + n^2*a_2 + ... ?

Re:Still binary.. (4, Informative)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254851)

More info about base 3 computing here [americanscientist.org] .

Re:Still binary.. (2, Informative)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254742)

why do you think there will be size and speed gains?

the complexity of most logical and arithmetic operations that have to be performed on a bit increase exponentially with the number of possible states in the bit.

Re:Still binary.. (4, Funny)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254761)

01111001 01100001 00101100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110100 01101111 01110100 01100001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 01100001 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100101 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 00100000 00101101 00100000 01101000 01101111 01110000 01100101 01100110 01110101 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110000 01110000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01110011 01101111 01101111 01101110 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01110111 01100101 01100001 01110010 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101111 01110101 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01110011 01100101 00100000 01110100 01110111 01101111 00100000 01101011 01100101 01111001 01110011 00101110 00101110 00101110

Know what I mean?

Re:Still binary.. (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254837)

01110111 01100101 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110111 01101000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101111 01110011 01100101 00100000 01100111 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101111 01110101 01110100 00101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101110 00100000 01110011 01110111 01101001 01110100 01100011 01101000 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101011 01100101 01111001 01110000 01100001 01100100

Re:Still binary.. (4, Funny)

condition-label-red (657497) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254773)

Doesn't the "bi" in "bit" mean two? So we would have to call three states a "trit"; and four states a "quit" to keep them straight.

Re:Still binary.. (4, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254811)

but would 12 states be a twit? ;)

Re:Still binary.. (0)

anicholo (702793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254781)

I'm not sure if that's even possible... Anyways, don't you think you're looking too far into the future?

I'll think about that problem when I have my optic implants running with linux :)

Re:Still binary.. (4, Funny)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254817)

You know, maybe you are right. And I think we should also stop counting in base-10. I mean, we've been doing that for, like, forever. And it would be so cool to count in base-13. And maybe we should live in tepees. Because they're cool.

Re:Still binary.. (5, Informative)

HeX314 (570571) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254825)

The difficulty with mastering tri-state and quad-state computers (as opposed to bi-state or binary) comes with the gates used. How would one perform an inverse operation when there are two other choices from which to choose? Instead of AND, OR, and NOT (not to mention combinations such as XOR, NOR, NAND, etc.), you would have at least 8 gates (if I recall correctly; I worked on something similar to this during the summer) doing things such as shifting, reversing, "inverting," and such. The different permutations of these make it even more confusing.

In addition to this, you would need to find a medium capable of carrying a tri-state signal (electrons are not best suited for this). In fact, due to the fact that we have a tough time determining on and off sometimes, I would personally suggest we leave it at binary for the time being.

I know it's a long post, but most of it is necessary.

Re:Still binary.. (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254835)

For that matter, why are we still using an antiquated 8-based system?

Everything else in our world pretty much revolves around the number 10, even our fingers and toes.

Re:Still binary.. (5, Interesting)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254881)

Imagine the size and speed gains we would get if we could now have three or four states per bit.

Three states have been around awhile it's called Tri-state Logic [labri.fr] . Gordon Moore gave an interview [pcmag.com] in PC Magazine. He discussed multi-state logic, but said it was a non issue. He said that neural networks were much more important breakthrough.

DUPE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254697)

been there, done that [slashdot.org]

NYT not necessary (4, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254702)

SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- In an advance that could inexpensively speed up corporate data centers and eventually personal computers, researchers used everyday silicon to build a device that converts data into light beams.

Light-based communications has until now largely been the realm of large telecom companies and long-haul fiber-optic networks because of the expense of the exotic materials required to harness photons, the basic building block of light.

Now, researchers at Intel Corp. say their results with silicon promise to reduce the cost of photonics by introducing a well-known substance that's more readily available.

In the study, published in Thursday's journal Nature, the Intel researchers reported encoding 1 billion bits of data per second, 50 times faster than previous silicon experiments. They said they could achieve rates of up to 10 billion bits per second within months.

"This is a significant step toward building optical devices that move data around inside a computer at the speed of light," said Pat Gelsinger, Intel's chief technology officer.

Intel believes the finding could have profound implications for the links between servers in corporate data centers. Eventually, the technology could find its way into personal computers and even consumer electronics.

"It is the kind of breakthrough that ripples across an industry over time, enabling other new devices and applications," Gelsinger said. "It could help make the Internet run faster, build much faster high-performance computers and enable high bandwidth applications like ultra-high-definition displays or vision recognition systems."

Unlike electrons that flow through copper connections common today, the photons in light are not susceptible to data-slowing interference and can travel farther.

The Intel researchers built a device called a modulator, which switches light into patterns that translate into the ones and zeros of the digital world.

A light beam was split into two as it passed through the silicon, which has tiny transistor-like devices that alter light. When the beams are recombined and exit the silicon, the light goes on and off at a frequency of 1 gigahertz, or a billion times a second.

Infrared light is used because it can pass through silicon.

"Just as Superman's X-ray vision allows him to see through walls, if you had infrared vision, you could see through silicon," said Mario Paniccia, a study author and director of Intel's silicon photonics research. "This makes it possible to route light in silicon, and it is the same wavelength typically used for optical communications."

The researchers expect to be able to increase the frequency to 10 gigahertz, making the technology commercially viable, said Victor Krutul, senior manager of Intel's silicon photonics technology strategy.

"This implies that the economies of scale that we have seen for the electronics industry could one day apply to the photonics industry," Graham T. Reed, a professor of optoelectronics at the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute, said in a commentary that accompanied the research paper.

New AOL IntelSpeed! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254703)

With new AOL IntelSpeed (tm) I can compute faster than ever! All my friends and family use AOL IntelSpeed (tm), too!

Yeah... (-1, Redundant)

Bryan Gividen (739949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254717)

But will it run linux?

Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254719)

"Chip Speed"? I mean, really, come on. Wouldn't "Intel makes optical computing breakthrough" be a far more descriptive and meaningful thing to say?

To say nothing of the fact that if you just say "Intel makes Chip Speed Breakthrough" we will all assume that this actually means "Intel makes Marketing Breakthrough".

damn universe.. (3, Insightful)

molo (94384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254727)

the barrier to building fundamentally new kinds of computers not limited by physical distance should become a reality, experts say

I think the universe might disagree. The speed of light is a limiting factor. The speed of electrons/transistor switching is what we're hitting now. (takes more than one clock cycle for a signal to propogate accross a chip) We will exchange that for a the light/photothingie switching speed that will be higher. This is not limitless.

Also, not limited by physical distance? Are these guys on crack? My Quake game is limited by physical distance. It takes 100ms to go across the country and back. Latency is the killer here.

-molo

Re:damn universe.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254767)

I was wondering if they were talking about distances within the computer. Either on the chip, of with the buses.

Re:damn universe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254820)

I was wondering if they were talking about distances within the computer. Either on the chip, of with the buses.

It's simple really. First you calculate the distance over time (taking into account the speed of light, of course):
Be=(Sum be*1/Na((m*Cr*g*cos(a)+Q/2*Cw*A*v^2)+m(A+g*sin(a)+ Br)*v*dt)/(Sum v*dt)

They you apply standard coefficent equations. Viola, you have the answer!

Re:damn universe.. (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254860)

I think the universe might disagree.

That universe, thinks he's so smart...

We're trying to siliconize photonics (4, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254728)

"We're trying to siliconize photonics"

We're trying to morph bleeding-edge content
We're trying to facilitate sticky experiences
We're trying to productize user-centric convergence
We're trying to empower extensible networks
We're trying to synthesize revolutionary ROI
We're trying to matrix e-business technologies
We're trying to cultivate impactful relationships

....yada yada yada...

...Look, how fast will the thing go, and will I end up starting a fire in my PC from overheat?

Re:We're trying to siliconize photonics (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254850)

Are you looking for a job? I sense you may have a financially rewarding future in the marketing department. Also, I need somebody to help writing business plans, and it seems you have that special sauce investors are looking for down perfectly.

Re:We're trying to siliconize photonics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254882)

I need somebody to help writing business plans,

I can write the last two steps of any business plan.

Modders: Each box with a laser toy inside!!! (4, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254731)

Photonics == lasers
So this technology should also revolutionize the mod scene and therefore dramatically effect Slashdot's front page.
I wonder how many kids will accidentally burn their eyes out looking into the light?

Whoo now (1)

ab_iron (622116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254732)

What did Moore have to say about this?

Re:Whoo now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254787)

He has nothing moore to say on the sunject

Re:Whoo now (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254792)

He said he was "Bond, James Bond"..then ordered a martini.

Re:Whoo now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254904)

Patrick Moore? He would've said:

"And now for something which I think you'll find really interesting..."

Probably wouldn't be interested in it though - it's not like its gonna burn bright enough to have a visible magnitude...

RTFA. This is a new method of data transfer... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254734)

... not a chip you can 'overclock'. Basically, it is a way to send LOTS of data over a fiber line. They use an example of picking any seat in a stadium and having a dynamic TV show you that seat based on an angle you sit to the TV. So unless the data is pre-processed, this is NOT a new CPU.

"The device Intel has built is the prototype of a high-speed silicon optical modulator that the company has now pushed above two billion bits per second at a lab near its headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. The modulator makes it possible to switch off and on a tiny laser beam and direct it into an ultrathin glass fiber. Although the technical report in Nature focuses on the modulator, which is only one component of a networking system, Intel plans on demonstrating a working system transmitting a movie in high-definition television over a five-mile coil of fiberoptic cable next week at its annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco."

Moore's Law (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254740)

...or is this (Moore's Law)^2 ?

Better yet...will this be meazured in LHz (Ludicrous-hertz)?

I would hope... (1)

makers (309217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254754)

... "as the costs of communicating between chips and computers falls," that fundamentally new kinds of computers would become a reality, and not the barriers to their development.

Faster-than-light computers? (4, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254755)

...building fundamentally new kinds of computers not limited by physical distance should become a reality...

So they've broken the lightspeed barrier? Amazing!

Photonics (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254757)

... is the coolest technology you've never heard of.

For some reason, buried among a zillion dog-eared back issues of "People" and "Sports Illustrated" at the Seattle's Best Coffee shop at the corner of Central and Kirkland Way in Kirkland, Washington, somebody left a copy of Photonics Spectra [photonics.com] in the magazine rack. I'm an electronics geek who had never heard of the field, and I probably spent three hours and two quad-damage lattes poring over that magazine. Fucking amazing stuff. Spend some time at the photonics.com website if you don't believe me.

Seriously, photonics looks like it might be the Next Big Thing.

monopolizing (3, Interesting)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254760)

With this breakthrough, Intel researchers said, they have shown that it should be possible to build optical fiber communications systems using Intel's conventional chipmaking process

Great now we'll only have to buy from two companies in the future Intel and Microsoft.

Seriously though, when I hear some chip news, and how it's the 'next best thing' I kind of wonder how much is just marketing hype. So far I heard of terabyte chips... Coming Soon!!!... Faster chipset will do... and so on. Yet on the market you see none. According to most companies capabilities (providing it's not just hype), from what I gather, they have a chipset in the works that can fly you to the moon, wash your car, bone your partner, and have you back in time for work the next morning. However, these companies have to make as much money as they possibly can selling you their fourth, third, and second generation chips for the next few years.

The next thing (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254898)

I tried to hold out on buying dvds until holographic storage became available - for the last 5 years.

Gave up and decided to live one technology behind the current thing - cheap, fast enough, reliable and supported.

Photonic chips and holographic storage should work really well together - in 5 or 10 years or whenever its decided to reopen the wounds on the bleeding edge.

but... (1)

gandalphthegreen (751209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254763)

What will it cost? Something an order of magnitude above Pentium Extreme(ly expensive) Edition? Will it be compatible with anything?

Re:but... (1)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254855)

I don't think that compatability will be an issue if it is as fast as predicted. I would say computational scientists would use it first as we have the money and need to blow on such chips. Probalby take 10-15 years to get to mass market tho...kinda like 64 bit technology.

oh wait...I have no clue what I am talking about.

But can we TRUST this intel? (4, Funny)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254766)

Given the current press reports from the White House and David Kay, how do we know we can trust this intel?

Re:But can we TRUST this intel? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254862)

Even if the intel is not reliable; the ends will justify the means.

It's just a damn modulator (5, Informative)

Orthogonal Jones (633685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254769)


Disclaimer: I am a Ph.D. in fiber optic physics

This is a 2 Gb/s modulator, whereas III-V semiconductor modulators above 40 Gb/s are commericially available.

A modulator by itself is nothing new, and not the whole story. You need optical waveguides with bending radii much smaller than currently available for routing, and optical logic gates which are an even worse problem.

The article doesn't describe the technology -- is it electroabsorption? Mach-Zehnder?

Nevertheless, a small and fast silicon modulator has obvious commercial value, even if it isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Re:It's just a damn modulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254901)

PhD
abbr. Latin

Philosophiae Doctor (Doctor of Philosophy)

Let's everybody watch... (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254776)

JDS Uniphase's stock start to go up on this. Me, I'd love to go optical. And I'm sure JDS wouldn't mind selling some fiber and related supplies...

Coupla things......... (0)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254805)

If I bought a clear case, would the processor eminate a cool glow?
And, will this processor make OOo open in .7 seconds instead of 2 seconds? If so, do I really need this?

Lightspeed limitations? (4, Funny)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254810)

So now the only barrier is the speed of light? Or do I need a nice warp core sitting in my living room to overclock?

Not much effect on distances (4, Insightful)

MacGabhain (198888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254824)

Propogation of light through fiber is only about 50% faster than propogation of electrons through a copper conductor. The comments about making distance irrelevant seems completely unrelated to what's been accomplished.

What Intel seems to be discussing is much faster transmission rates though the line (ie: bandwidth), which in itself is a really good thing if it's being done at reasonable heat and power levels.

Not to Overstate things, but... (2, Interesting)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254826)

I have a feeling this will one day be seen as a development with the same order of importance as say, the development of the first semiconductor. However, it will probably take at least a decade to sort out all of the implications.

New Class of Computing Applications? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254827)

It will also make possible a new class of computing applications based on the possibility of transmitting high-definition video and images hundreds or even thousands of times faster than possible on today's Internet.


When they say, "new class of computing applications" I take that to mean that this is the type of technology that Microsoft would take advantage of to facilitate a .NET variation. In other words, allow the application to run on the server, but the service to transfer large amounts of data back and forth from the user's terminal.

If the transfer speeds are fast enough for this type of technology, couldn't we expect it to eventually get fast enough to replace set top boxes? We could be buying and running services instead of programs within the next decade, theoretically killing software piracy. Scary.

Hmmm The Speed of Light is ... (5, Interesting)

joab_son_of_zeruiah (580903) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254834)

fundamentally new kinds of computers not limited by physical distance should become a reality, experts say

... 186,000+/- miles per second. Enough delay to make TCP/IP "an issue" for satellite networks?

I love generalization.

Ok, so the CPU uses light... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254838)

...but is it UV reactive? Does it match my LED fans? It is an Intel so I assume it glows blue, right?

Quit staring at me.

Still electro-optical (not all optical) (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254845)

Its an interesting breakthrough, but only from the standpoint of manufacturing high speed optical interconnect systems using standard silicon as the substrate material. It would seem that the technology still relies on standard electronic computation, but has a convenient way to convert eletronic signals into photonic ones on a standard silicon chip (versus the more exotic materials currently used for optical modulators).

Rather than create all-optical processors, this technology will be useful for building gigabit fiber interfaces directly into everyday silicon chips. I'd think that the next step for this stuff will be cheap fiber connections between peripherals and interal subsystems (Optical ATA anyone?) Then they will look to create optical traces that connect Intel processors, cache, RAM, I/O chips (if they can figure out how to mass-produce a optical fiber traces on a PCB).

This breakthrough more of an interconnection technology than a computation technology.

What are they gonna call it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8254870)

Luminium?

Al for short?

Wait a minute... (1)

Raptor-DP (729253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8254899)

It might just be me, but I sure as hell remember reading an article about breakthroughs of this type, maybe a little too close, last august or september. Anyone else remember seeing that? I will note that I do not remember reading anything about Intel being involved with it.
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