Optical Chip Promises Massive Speedups Over GPUs For Some Algorithims

Lightelligence, a Boston-based photonics company, revealed the world’s first small form-factor, photonics-based computing device, meaning it uses light to perform compute operations. The company claims the unit is “hundreds of times faster than a typical computing unit, such as NVIDIA RTX 3080.” 350 times faster, to be exact, but that only applies to certain types of applications.

Still in a demo stage, the Photonic Arithmetic Computing Engine (PACE) integrates electronics and photonics in a singular chassis, performing operations at the speed of light and thus achieving extreme acceleration for certain AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning compute workloads. 

PACE accelerates certain matrix acceleration applications so much faster than NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 because of the very nature of its computing elements. It’s easy enough to understand: latency, which is the frame of time between when an event is ordered to happen and when it actually happens, is much, much lower on Lightelligence’s system. That’s the benefit of data traveling around at the speed of light.

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Press Deck for Lightelligence

(Image credit: Lightelligence)

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