Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Intel speeds up the fibers for computers

Researchers at Intel are showing off an silicon modulator that can pass 40 gigabits of data in a second, a new record that indicates that fiber-inside-computers is really coming. For the past several years, Intel, Primarion, IBM and others have been coming up with ways to mass produce optical components on standard silicon manufacturing lines. There have been prototypes for modulators, lasers, and other parts.

A modulator is an component from the fiber optic industry. It essentially chops up light from a laser into blips that ultimately will be understood as 1s and 0s by a computer. Right now, computers (and chips) pass signals via electrons traveling along metal wires. Metal wires give off heat, which has created an energy crisis inside computer. Fiber optics however transmit data with photons, which are faster than electrons and don't give off heat.

So we finally might be coming near to what we can call the next generation computers !

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