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Science Technology

New Material Sets Stage For All-Optical Computing 53

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the International Business Times: "Researchers have made a new material that can be used to guide waves of light, a breakthrough that could lead to ultra-fast computing. Georgia Tech scientists are using specially designed organic dyes that can process and redirect light without the need to be converted to electricity first. ... 'For this class of molecules, we can with a high degree of reliability predict where the molecules will have both large optical nonlinearities and low two-photon absorption,' said [Georgia Tech School of Chemistry professor Seth] Marder." According to the article, using an optical router could lead to transmission speeds as high as 2,000 gigabits per second, five times faster than current technology.
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New Material Sets Stage For All-Optical Computing

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  • by Serilleous ( 1400333 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:51AM (#31369474)
    Yes, its true, transmission speeds and routing capacity are usually measured in bits rather than megs or kb. (this probably has something to do with the whole kb/mb doesn't follow powers of ten thing)
  • Re:But (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @08:20AM (#31369614)

    Exactly, like lower latency. The conversion into an electrical signal, and then back to optical probably adds a bit of latency. I'm no expert, but I'd imagine that data going to and from a typical destination on the internet goes through several of these conversions adding (in most cases negligible) latency. If most of the routers on the net were all optical, I'd imagine we'd have an internet with imperceptible latency most of the time. That could lead to things as simple as lag-free gaming, real-time video conferencing, and maybe in the future a very (sur)real shared virtual reality, all done across large physical distances.

  • by Darth Sdlavrot ( 1614139 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @08:31AM (#31369688)

    Probably has more to do with the fact that historically some hardware had byte and word sizes that weren't multiples of 8.

    E.g. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/36-bit [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:But (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Friday March 05, 2010 @08:36AM (#31369716)

    Of course. Because the new technology also is getting better. And usually at a much quicker rate than the existing one, because that one is already at the end of its limits.

    There often even is new technology that is still worse than the old one, because of its experimental state. But worth pursuing anyway, because of the huge potential.

    The same is true for optical circuits.

  • Re:But (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @09:50AM (#31370228) Journal

    The first automobiles could easily be outrun by a horse. I guess we're fortunate that no one noticed that or else they would've all agreed that automobile technology was a waste of time and should be abandoned.

  • Re:But (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:35AM (#31371450)
    It takes light 64ms to go from NYC to Beijing, as the crow flies. So roundtrip of 128 ms is borderline unplayable in first person shooters

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