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Closing the Gap Between High-Speed Data Transmission and Processing

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University of California, San Diego (UCSD) engineers have set world-record speeds for real-time signal processing while working to develop the first terabit-scale technology for optical processing. The researchers say the technology could lead to widespread improvements in networking, computing, and defense. UCSD professor Stojan Radic and his team demonstrated the first real-time sampling of a 320 Gbps channel.

Developed at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology's (Calit2's) Photonics Systems Lab, the technology is part of an advanced program on parametric optical processing being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. "For the first time we have been able to process signals as fast as 320 Gbps by making more than eight copies of the signal and simultaneously sampling all the copies — thereby allowing us to do real-time processing," Radic says.

The new technology set records for aggregate speed and the number of copies simultaneously sampled. "Calit2 has a strong interest in very fast optical processing in order to bridge the gap between transmission and real-time processing speeds," says Calit2 director Larry Smarr. "The future of the Internet — especially for data-intensive collaborative science — is predicated on finding ways to process data on the fly, even at the highest transmission rates." Radic says the goal of the four-year project is to achieve 1 terabit-per-second processing with a single technology platform.

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