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  • Photonics and the intelligent infrastructure
Jan 2010
Jan. 14, 2010 — Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the 23rd International Conference on VLSI Design and the 9th International Conference on Embedded Systems (VLSID 2010) at the NIMHANS Convention Center in Bangalore.

Here, I’d like to dwell upon a very interesting point made by one of the technical keynoters at the conference – Dr. Prith Banerjee, senior VP of research at HP and director of HP Labs – who touched upon some promising areas for research.

An intelligent infrastructure was one of the research areas mentioned by Dr. Banerjee. He mentioned about an Exascale data center that will provide 1000× performance improvement, while enhancing the availability, manageability and reliability, and reducing the power and cooling costs. HP Labs is working on the design of a sustainable data center that reduces total cost of operation (TCO) and carbon footprint, while meeting the current quality of service goals. It is being designed across components, interconnects, power and cooling, virtualization, management, and software delivery.

What’s interesting to note is the role of photonics in developing such an intelligent infrastructure, which is required to capture more value via dramatic computing performance and cost improvement. It is here that photonics comes into the picture – by replacing copper with light to transmit data!

Dr. Banerjee said that there is a need to create brand new optical technologies that can work in Exascale. Photonics interconnects make use of light for data communications. The transmit or receive optical bus is a simple modular system in four elements – transmitter media, optical tap, optical source and optical receiver.

According to him, technologies such as memristors, photonic interconnects, and sensors will likely revolutionize the way data is collected, stored and transmitted.

Wow! This is sheer mind-boggling stuff!

Dr. Banerjee advised the EDA industry that in future, it needs to look at design automation for entire systems, including networks and data centers, electronics and photonics, and performance and sustainability.


Jan. 14, 2010

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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