Computers powered by light to launch in 2020

Optical computers could make electricity savings of $21 million
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Computers that use light to transfer data instead of electricity could arrive as early as 2020.

Optalysys, an English technology company, has revealed it will demonstrate a prototype optical computer in 2015, which will perform calculations at the speed of light.

This technology will project low-power lasers onto a liquid crystal grid, which will then initiate a reaction with the grid.

This will then generate algorithms, accommodating thousands of calculations, which will allow the capacity and power of the computer to increase.

James Duez, chairman of Optalysys, said: “The optical processing technology that we are developing will offer step-changing advances in how physical processes are modelled and how the resulting data sets are analysed.”

Optical computers will also make savings on electricity, using roughly $3,500 (£2,092) of electricity each year. Today’s most powerful supercomputer costs around $21 (£12) million to run annually.

As well as this, optical computers are also expected to decrease in size, compared to today’s supercomputers, reducing space requirements and other expenses when it comes to housing large desktops.

The Optalysys optical computing technology has already met the NASA Technology Readiness Level, and the company hopes to have two commercial demo systems up and running by 2017.

Nick New, founder and CEO of Optalysys, added: “Whilst our goals are ambitious they are definitely achievable and we are confident that Optalysys technology will be a game-changer for the global science and engineering communities.” 

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