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Entries in IBM (6)


UK quantum algorithm start-up targets first opportunity 

A UK start-up developing software for quantum computers has received £3.25 million ($4.1 million) in funding. 

Riverlane, based in Cambridge, is working with leading quantum computing hardware companies as well as large corporates interested in benefiting from the technology.

The start-up will use the funding to grow the company and has already identified the most promising applications for the technology.



“A lot of people are building hardware using various technologies such as iron trap or supercomputing qubits,” says Steve Brierley, CEO of Riverlane. “What we are trying to do is make that [hardware] useful as soon as possible.” A qubit is the shorthand term for a quantum bit.

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Silicon photonics adds off-chip comms to a RISC-V processor

A group of researchers have developed a microprocessor that uses silicon photonics-based optics to send and receive data.

"For the first time a system - a microprocessor - has been able to communicate with the external world using something other than electronics," says Vladimir Stojanovic, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. 


Vladimir Stojanovic

The microprocessor is the result of work that started at MIT nearly a decade ago as part of a project sponsored by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to investigate the integration of photonics and electronics for off-chip and even intra-chip communications.  

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Silicon photonics: "The excitement has gone"

The opinion of industry analysts regarding silicon photonics is mixed at best. More silicon photonics products are shipping but challenges remain.


Part 1: An analyst perspective

"The excitement has gone,” says Vladimir Kozlov, CEO of LightCounting Market Research. “Now it is the long hard work to deliver products.” 

Dale Murray, LightCounting

However, he is less concerned about recent setbacks and slippages for companies such as Intel that are developing silicon photonics products. This is to be expected, he says, as happens with all emerging technologies.

Mark Lutkowitz, principal at consultancy fibeReality, is more circumspect. “As a general rule, the more that reality sets in, the less impressive silicon photonics gets to be,” he says. “The physics is just hard; light is not naturally inclined to work on the silicon the way electronics does.”

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IBM demos a 100 Gigabit silicon photonics transceiver

IBM has demonstrated a 100 gigabit transceiver using silicon photonics technology, its most complex design unveiled to date. The 100 gigabit design is not a product but a technology demonstrator, and IBM says it will not offer branded transceivers to the marketplace.

“It is a demonstration vehicle illustrating the complex design capabilities of the technology and the functionality of the optical and electrical components,” says Will Green, manager of IBM’s silicon integrated nano-photonics group. 

Will Green

IBM has been developing silicon photonics technology for over a decade, starting with building-block optical functions based on silicon, to its current monolithic system-on-chip technology that includes design tools, testing and packaging technologies.

Now this technology is nearing commercialisation. 

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Boosting high-performance computing with optics 

Briefing: Optical Interconnect

Part 2: High-performance computing

IBM has adopted optical interfaces for its latest POWER7-based high-end computer system. Gazettabyte spoke to IBM Fellow, Ed Seminaro, about high-performance computing and the need for optics to address bandwidth and latency requirements.

“At some point when you go a certain distance you have to go to an optical link” 

Ed Seminaro, IBM Fellow 






IBM has used parallel optics for its latest POWER7 computing systems, the Power 775. The optical interfaces are used to connect computing node drawers that make up the high-end computer. Each node comprises 32 POWER7 chips, with each chip hosting eight processor cores, each capable of running up to four separate programming tasks or threads.  

Using optical engines, each node – a specialised computing card - has a total bandwidth of 224, 120 Gigabit-per-second (12x10Gbps) VCSEL-based transmitters and 224, 120Gbps receivers. The interfaces can interconnect up to 2,048 nodes, over half a million POWER7 cores, with a maximum network diameter of only three link hops.

IBM claims that with the development of the Power 775, it has demonstrated the superiority of optics over copper for high-end computing designs.


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Framing the information age

Maurice Broomfield is a 94-year-old photographer who has documented examples of 20th century industry. His lifelong work is about to be shown at two exhibitions in the UK, as detailed in an interview with the Financial Times. It made me wonder whether anyone is doing the equivalent for telecom and datacom? Mega data centres as IT cathedrals?

When writing features for FibreSystems Europe, I repeatedly asked for high-resolution striking images. The magazine's editors always wanted photos that included people, like Maurice Broomfield's photos.  Getting hold of such images did happen but not often.

Inspired by the Financial Times’ interview and Maurice Broomfield's beautiful images, some of the better images sent are presented here.


IBM data centre

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