Intel Labs has launched its Research Center for Integrated Photonics for Data Center Interconnects. The center’s mission is to accelerate technological innovation and optical input / output (I / O) performance, with a specific focus on photonic devices and technology, CMOS circuitry and link architecture, and the integration of packets and fiber coupling.
The data movement between servers is increasing and it is testing the capabilities of today’s network infrastructures. The industry is rapidly approaching the practical limits of electrical I / O performance. As demand continues to increase, the scale of performance is unable to keep up and will soon limit the power available for computing operations.
This performance barrier can be overcome by integrating computer silicon and optical I / O, a key focus of the Intel center. The chip giant has recently demonstrated progress in the critical technology building blocks for embedded photonics. Light generation, amplification, sensing, modulation, CMOS interface circuitry, and packet integration are essential to achieve the performance required to replace electricity as the primary interface.
Additionally, optical I / O has the potential to dramatically outperform electrical in key metrics for performance, range, bandwidth density, power consumption and latency. More innovations are needed on several fronts to expand optical performance while reducing power and cost.
The Intel Research Center is a continuation of developments made so far in the application of photonics to data centers. The goal remains integrate photonics with low-cost silicon and high volume to enable advancements in the optical interconnect industry, essential to meet the growing challenges of scaling inbound and outbound throughput generated by massive high-volume workloads of traffic that occurs on data center networks.
To that end, the Intel Center has brought together world-renowned universities and researchers to accelerate optical I / O technology innovation in performance integration and scaling. The vision of the research is to explore a technology scaling path that meets bandwidth performance and energy efficiency requirements for the next decade and beyond.
«At Intel Labs, we firmly believe that no organization can successfully turn all necessary innovations into a research reality. By collaborating with some of America’s leading scientific minds, Intel is opening the doors for the advancement of photonics technology for the next generation of computing interconnectivity. We look forward to working closely with these researchers to explore how we can overcome current barriers.“Explained James Jaussi, Principal Engineer and Director of the PHY Research Laboratory at Intel Labs.