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Optical interconnect is a way of communication by optical cables. Compared to traditional cables, optical wires are capable of a much higher bandwidth, from 10 Gbit/s up to 100 Gbit/s.
The technology is currently being introduced as a way to link computers to mobile devices, as well as on motherboards and devices within computers.
IBM has created a prototype optical interconnect using wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM). They suggest that if successful, this technology could lead to the first computer capable of exascale computing (a computer that can perform a billion billion computations per second). A waveguide emits eight different colored beams into several different ports of a modulator, which allows eight signals to be transferred concurrently. This multi-wavelength beam travels through the chip, with optical switches controlling the direction.
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