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Light-Based Computing, Quick as a Thought

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coupled laser

The intensity of a coupled laser changes in response to different inputs and delays.

Credit: CSIC-UIB

A consortium of European research institutions is working on a new, photonic computing model under the aegis of the PHOCUS project. The system envisioned by the project uses light to communicate, potentially raising energy efficiency far above that of current supercomputers.

The reservoir computer concept is inspired by the rapid information processing architecture of the human brain, in which stimuli or inputs are fed into neural networks or reservoirs. Inputs remain detectable in the reservoir for a certain time, and this input memory, coupled with the emerging response of the reservoir, converts the input into a large number of dynamical states of the reservoir, producing a high-dimensional state space.

The researchers say that photonic systems could be employed to comprehend and eventually imitate some of the brain's functionalities. PHOCUS' ultimate target is photonic deployment of reservoir computing, running at high data rates, as an alternative to supercomputers for operations that require reduced size and less power consumption.

From PIK Research Portal
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