IBM Unleashes Photonic Supercomputer... On a Chip

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Modern supercomputers are still at least 100 times faster than the crappy laptop you bought a week ago, and electrons are to blame. Today, IBM introduced a way to speed up the action on regular silicon chips by replacing the wiring with pulses of light, a technology called—what else?—silicon photonics. This method works for longer stretches requiring communication between cores, but it doesn't have a major impact in very tight spaces, so copper can still be used. This all may sound familiar, as it's essentially a teeny tiny version of today's fiberoptic networks. Now that you're kicking yourself about that laptop purchase, here's the good news: photonics won't be marketable on chips for another decade. [InfoWorld]