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IPFS News Link • Technology: Computer Hardware

All-optical permanent on-chip memory paves the way for faster, more efficient computers

• http://www.gizmag.com, Colin Jeffrey

A new non-volatile optical memory has been created by researchers working at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the universities of Münster, Oxford, and Exeter. Utilizing innovative phase-change materials to store information, the new device promises to significantly improve processing speeds by effectively eliminating the existing bottleneck of having to convert optical signals into electrical signals for storage and then back again for transmission.

 Optical microprocessors may one day result in quantum computer systems that take advantage of the practical application of high-speed, ultra-efficient, light-based information exchange. However, to make such efficiency a reality, an all-optical system of information storage and interchange must be created to avoid what is known as the von Neumann bottleneck, where most computer time is spent in moving information between storage and the central processing unit rather than operating on it.


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