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DARPA Begins Development of Optical Signaling Tech for Parallel Computing Systems

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new program that aims to streamline data movement in parallel computing systems using high-bandwidth optical signaling technologies.

The agency said Thursday it intends to create optical input/output systems equipped with advanced and application-specific integrated circuits, field programmable gate arrays and graphics processing units under the Photonics in the Package for Extreme Scalability initiative.

The optical transceiver capabilities will be integrated into multi-chip modules.

The program also seeks to explore component technologies, advanced link concepts and in-package optical I/O systems to develop and implement new approaches and throughput, as well as permit the creation of low-loss optical packaging approaches to manage thousands of circuit nodes in parallel systems.

Gordon Keeler, program manager in DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office, said photonic signalling capabilities have the potential of scaling disruptive systems as the former keep data flowing and touch on data-intensive applications such as machine learning, large scale emulation and advanced sensors.

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