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IBM Hardware

IBM Creates Commercially Viable, Electronic-Photonic Integrated Chip 71

An anonymous reader writes "After more than a decade of research, and a proof of concept in 2010, IBM Research has finally cracked silicon nanophotonics (or CMOS-integrated nanophotonics, CINP, to give its full name). IBM has become the first company to integrate electrical and optical components on the same chip, using a standard 90nm semiconductor process. These integrated, monolithic chips will allow for cheap chip-to-chip and computer-to-computer interconnects that are thousands of times faster than current state-of-the-art copper and optical networks. Where current interconnects are generally measured in gigabits per second, IBM's new chip is already capable of shuttling data around at terabits per second, and should scale to peta- and exabit speeds."
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IBM Creates Commercially Viable, Electronic-Photonic Integrated Chip

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  • Re:More info (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:10PM (#42242881)

    It's also remarkably misleading. Infinera has been doing Photonic Integrated Circuits for a while now, but they're definitely not cheap.
    The only thing IBM may have pioneered is doing it on Silicon. Infinera uses Indium Phosphide.

  • Re:More info (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:25PM (#42243023)

    The only thing IBM may have pioneered is doing it on Silicon. Infinera uses Indium Phosphide.

    What they've done hardly sounds like a small thing. They've gone from lab-scale to commercial-scale, at least in the lab (if that makes sense).

    They're not the first to make this kind of chip, but they've advanced the state of the art. There aren't many times when a completely new invention comes out, most of the time it's baby steps like this.

  • Re:More info (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:45PM (#42243257)

    It won't give us the ability to do anything we can't already do today, though.

    Yes, it will. It will give you the ability to afford the technology, so that applications may turn up in places where you would not be able to put an Infinera type device.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:49PM (#42243305)

    Isn't that true of all computer technology?

  • by inputdev ( 1252080 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:11PM (#42244109)

    In economics people like to discuss job creators and wealth movement, trickle-up and trickle-down, the loss of businesses, poor people and rich people... but they fail to understand wealth. Take the "shop locally" thing... if you have a local bookstore versus Amazon, people tell you to shop locally because it "keeps the money in the community." Problem is the local bookstore is crap, they order from the big publishers and distributors, etc; some folks argue Walmart or B&N are as bad as Amazon and not like a local bookstore, but their stores still pay local taxes on their income, they still pay rent, hire sales people, and order from the same distributors. Now let's say you order from Amazon because it's $10 cheaper. That money leaves the local community, but $10 stays ... you're $10 wealthier. The local bookstore has terrible selection and is expensive... it goes out of business. Meanwhile you've got a local farmer's market and you shop there with the extra $10 you have. That's wealth creation: you have the same goods (a book) plus more money ($10) to buy other goods (fresh food). If this is the general trend, the Farmer's Market garners that much more business, expands, and replaces the local book shop's place in the community--the community demand for a farmer's market was higher than a local bookstore, the community is now wealthier.

    The problem is that the local bookstore doesn't have to be crap to go out of business, and why does someone who decides to save $10 by buying from amazon decide to shop at a farmer's market (less convenient, can be more expensive) instead of a grocery store? I know you have a good point about what makes the community wealthier, but there are advantages to having retail stores in your area beyond price and selection - I like having a downtown to stroll around and look at things in shops, and I know I'm not alone - I don't want to see a bunch of failing businesses with scary homeless people begging for change (this is the way it's headed) with the "normal" people isolated in their suburban house getting goods shipped to the house.

  • Re:Faster? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:55PM (#42245139)

    Electrons don't move at the speed of light. The electric field generated by moving electrons propagates at the speed of light. In other words, when an electron starts moving at one end of a wire, the electric field propagates down the wire at the speed of light and starts the electrons at the other end moving.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb