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Breakthrough AI convolutional neural network using an optical coprocessor

• https://www.nextbigfuture.com, brian wang

The UK-based company has developed optical computing hardware that uses lasers and spatial light modulators (SLMs) to perform complex numerical processing at extremely high speeds and using very little power.

The optical laser technology enables them to process this model several orders of magnitude faster than conventional electronic hardware and does so at a fraction of the energy consumption.

In 2015 and 2016, Optalysys had completed a 320 gigaflop prototype and was talking about reaching about 9 petaflops in 2017, 300 petaflops in 2020 and then 17 exaflops in 2022. Optalysys is no longer publishing any statements about future performance targets.

They applied optical processing to the highly complex and computationally demanding area of CNNs with initial accuracy rates of over 70%.

Besides AI, the company has used its technology in a number of other domains, including bioinformatics, weather simulations, and mathematical processing. This application work led to the following proof-of-concept projects:

Project Genesys: delivered a working prototype of a genetic search system for The Earlham Institute (to perform sequence searches of metagenomic reads sequenced from the Human Microbiome Project Mock Community.

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