IBM, Agilent to bring optical components to chips

The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will fund a four-year program to develop optical interconnect technology for chip-to-chip communications, headed by researchers at IBM and Agilent Technologies, IBM announced on Thursday.

As processing speeds increase and server vendors pack more processors in their systems, the current copper interconnect technologies that link chips in a server will become a huge bottleneck, said Marc Taubenblatt, senior manager of optical communications at IBM Research. Optical technology could help solve that problem, he said.

Optical technology is mostly used in communications networks and server-to-server connections to speed data transmission. Instead of transmitting electrical signals down wires made of copper, optical technology sends light waves over fibre-optic cables at faster speeds and with less power consumption than copper technology, Taubenblatt said.

The DARPA program will bring IBM and Agilent together to devise ways to miniaturise that optical interconnect technology so it can be used to connect chips within a server, such as in the connections between the central processing unit (CPU) and the system's memory, Taubenblatt said. Some optical technology is already used in I/O buses for connecting to storage devices or LANs, he said.

Servers benefit from optical interconnects once data transmission speeds reach 10Gbps per channel or greater, Taubenblatt said. The team hopes to enable bandwidth of 40Tbps between processors in a server by the time the project is complete, he said.

IBM and Agilent plan to demonstrate the technology within three years, and spend the fourth year of the project demonstrating the results within a working system, Taubenblatt said.

DARPA gave the two companies $30 million to conduct their research, IBM said in a press release.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?