Computers have dictated the world over the last few years. Thanks to the advancement of technology, a computer is significantly capable and faster than ever before. However, the computer’s speed is one area where the invention has not slowed down, and an example of this would be the arrival of new technologies like optical computers. These are excellent at working on very complex problems at lightning-fast speed. Although, a regular user may not notice much of a difference when computers might be just performing everyday tasks like sorting through a list of online bookmakers or booking hotel rooms automatically on an online platform.
Optical computing refers to the device that uses infrared beams or photons – rather than electric current – for making digital computations. A remarkable jump in speed can be achieved by this shift, as light as 90% faster than electric current. Yet, it has so far been a technology that could not be implemented into computers due to restrictions like transmission loss over long distances. This has been solved to a great extent due to the advancement of optical fibers.
Now, the optical computer can take up the advantages of visible light and/or IR networks to create a product that is at least ten times more powerful than regular systems.
When Did It All Begin?
The roots of the optical computing campaign traced back to the 1980s when it was a field that was researched quite heavily. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of materials, the project failed to continue, and it didn’t make it out of the laboratory. Now, though, they are making a comeback thanks to the availability of tiny all-optical chips. The possibility of getting large-scale storage done compactly and efficiently was only a dream back in the 1980s, but computer optical drive storage improvements have made this substantially easier.
Different Versions of Optical Computing Devices
This product has two different types – electro-optical hybrid and pure optical – based on information path. The information is sent from external sources like a tecknet professional ergonomic optical wired computer gaming mouse and keyboard to the processor in an optical computing device. This processor is then used to transmit the information through switches and logic gates, which have to be programmed. How the information is taken depends on the final location.
Accordingly, it is done through fiber-optic cables. Some of the data might be stored in the holographic memory. The stored data can be used by a program that then gives out a signal back to the processor telling that the process is complete.
Why Go With The Optical Computer?
For those who ask ‘What is an optical computer and its benefits?” the simple answer would be that optical computer has many aces up its sleeve. The first major advantage would be speed. The computer is based on silicon technology that relies on electrons to create and work on logic. In the world of photonics, these electrons are replaced by light particles that do the same process. Since the speed of light is much more than any other common particle in the universe, it becomes an effective carrier for data and information. To put things into perspective, light is capable of moving around the globe 7.5 times per second. Therefore, the data will go over significant distances with little to no time.
How To Build Computers With Optical Technology?
The process of creating an optical computing device is certainly not easy. One cannot easily come across the materials used for construction. As a result, these devices may not be expected to be sold on a large scale for another decade. If construction is one of the challenges, the unique computation method – basic operations suffer from accuracy due to the limits of 8 to 11 bits – and more. In recent years, there has been significant research that has aided in better algorithms, correction codes, and more to improve the accuracy of these systems.
For the time being, at least, the primary source of these products will be hybrid technology. The use of an optical-electronic system will be able to get the best of both worlds. Some of the input data essential for computation will be transmitted on electronic circuits while the older technology will handle the processed output. Yet, it is obvious that the shift to the complete optical computing devices – like optical computer mouse – will be enormously remarkable in several aspects.
Scientists argue that the world will not entirely shift to the computer optical drive and that there is still space for electronics. It is easy to link the former with quantum computing, which is about photons used to describe the entire function while only being a small quantum. The possibilities are endless, as the technology will be used to capture and control atoms, which can then be held inside superconducting but small cavities.
Advantages of Optical Computing
The key advantages to consider in the world of optical computers are the following.
- A slew of advantages would begin with the small size, higher density, high speed, enhanced AI applications, scalability, and more.
- The transmission losses are reduced greatly, and there is a similar bandwidth available for transmission on several channels.
- The optical interconnections come with numerous advantages like the inability to be exposed to electrical short circuits and less interference from electromagnetic waves.
- Inexpensive processing of data that is also a lot easier compared to working on electronic components.
- The photons do not carry any charge, and they are incapable of reacting with each other as an electron. It makes it easy for the light beams to carry a lot of information, even in entire duplex operations.
- Storage density and accessibility is much greater for optical materials compared to magnetic materials.
Disadvantages of Optical Computing
Even though this could be one of the greatest inventions in the computing world, there are a couple of disadvantages. They are the following.
- Computation can be quite complex due to the interaction between several signals.
- Size is considerably larger – at least for now.
- The manufacturer of photonic crystals can be quite challenging with the current technology standards.
Final Thoughts: Where Can This Technology Have Its Most Impact?
The impact of optical computing has already been felt in several niches. The profound areas of influence have been machine learning and data centers. It makes it highly valuable in the industry of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has been touted as a massive market over the next few decades. The optical microchip in the neural networks of AI can have a considerable impact since it is 10 million times more efficient than the standard electronic system.
It would hugely unlock the potential of AI and make the algorithms solve any statistical workloads with fantastic ease. It is no wonder that many companies are starting to build the ideal optical definition computer infrastructure. There is no doubt that the optical networking business could benefit immensely in the next few years.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Let us know in the comments!
Arthur Rowley is a freelance writer. He mainly specializes in technology and the game industry. Arthur likes everything to do with technology and video games. He looks into the future of technology and is very excited about its daily metamorphosis and hopes in the great future for what lies behind the curtain of technological development.