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An optical computer (also called a photonic computer) is a device that uses the photons of visible light or infrared (IR) beams, rather than electric current, to perform digital computations. An electric current creates heat in computer systems. As the processing speed increases, so does the amount of electricity required; this extra heat is extremely damaging to the hardware. Light, however, creates insignificant amounts of heat, regardless of how much is used. Thus, the development of more powerful processing systems becomes possible. By applying some of the advantages of visible and/or IR networks at the device and component scale, a computer might someday be developed that can perform operations 10 or more times faster than a conventional electronic computer.

Visible-light and IR beams, unlike electric currents, pass through each other without interacting. Several (or many) laser beams can be shone so their paths intersect, but there is no interference among the beams, even when they are confined essentially to two dimensions. Electric currents must be guided around each other, and this makes three-dimensional wiring necessary. Thus, an optical computer, besides being much faster than an electronic one, might also be smaller.

Most research projects focus on replacing current computer components with optical equivalents, resulting in an optical digital computer system processing binary data. This approach appears to offer the best short-term prospects for commercial optical computing, since optical components could be integrated into traditional computers to produce an optical/electronic hybrid. Other research projects take a non-traditional approach, attempting to develop entirely new methods of computing that are not physically possible with electronics.


Optikol kompyutās wa kompyutās opèreiten bai làit pùlses rīpleisiŋ elektronik signols. 光學電腦是指利用光脈衝替代電子訊號製作的電腦。這些光脈衝訊號可以用紅外線或可見光。由於電流會令電腦發現,採用光脈衝的一個好處,就是可以降低電腦的發熱量而無需犧牲其計算效能。過度的熱量,可令電腦損壞。而一但光學電腦普及,其速度可達現今電腦的十倍。

美國萬國商業機器公司IBM)在2007年12月6日)宣佈,成功將電子訊號轉化成為光脈衝,有關技術可令超級電腦的體積大為縮小,有助超級電腦發展[1]


IBM在《光學快訊》期刊中,宣佈成功研製出一種體積細小的電子光學調幅器,體積較現時一般超級電腦採用的矽光子調幅細一百至一千倍。科學家表示,電子光學調幅器將來可以安裝入電腦的中央處理器晶片內,令超級電腦的體積大為縮小。他指出,新技術好比在超級電腦內鋪設一套光纖網絡,利用光學技術取代電線,可令各個核心處理器之間的傳送速度,加快一百倍,而耗用的能量更大幅減低。

References / Riförènses / 參考資料 Edit

  1. "〈國際新聞:IBM研用光脈衝縮超級電腦〉". 《快線周報》. 2007-12-8. (p.P.6 中國‧國際版). 

See also / Si osou / 參看 Edit

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