IBM’s Terabit Optical Chip Can Download ‘Fight Club’ 500 Times a Second
“Need to transfer a file quickly? How about 10 billion files? IBM has a new technology that’s capable of moving data at 1 trillion bits per second — or 1 Terabit per second — enough to transfer the entire Library of Congress in an hour, the company says.
That blazing speed is made possible by a prototype chip that IBM calls the Holey Optochip. Based on a normal semiconductor CMOS chip, it gets its name from the 48 holes that IBM’s engineers drilled into it. Within those holes, they put optical modules — tiny devices that can transimt or receive light information — creating a compact transceiver that can transmit information eight times faster than any other optical component ever made.
It’s important to remember that this is chip speed we’re talking about, and the actual speed of any system connected to it will be slower due to interconnects, latency and whatever software is driving it. Nonetheless, it’s a remarkable achievement for optical technology. Besides entire libraries, the chip can transfer an entire HD movie 500 times over every second, IBM says.
Optical technology has the promise of being faster and more efficient than your typical wire. IBM’s Holey discovery is definitely both, with an incredible transfer rate and record power efficiency, the company says. The transceiver consumers just 5 watts — or about a twelfth of an everyday 60-watt light bulb.”
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