Optical I/O is Here…
Have You Seen the
Chip-to-chip communication is advancing at the speed of light.
Are you keeping up?
Major players from all over the technology map—AI, HPC, aerospace, data center, cloud, and telecom—are developing optical I/O (OIO) next-generation solutions to meet the growing bandwidth, power, and latency requirements of the most demanding applications. Discover how HPE, Intel, Lockheed, NVIDIA, Raytheon, and others are looking to in-package optical I/O to ramp up data movement, build composable architectures, and get that next million-X speed-up in AI.
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Aerospace giants like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin see optical I/O advancing multiple SWaP-constrained applications like digital beamforming, phased array radar, and disaggregated airborne systems. For example, aerospace designers can architect disaggregated systems—placing sensors on the wings and nose of a jet and employing lightweight, EMI-resistant optical interconnects to quickly move data to processing units in the center of the plane.
Ayar Labs Partners with Department of Defense to Accelerate Transition to Optical I/O in Next-Gen Defense Applications
Ayar Labs, a leader in chip-to-chip optical connectivity, was awarded a $15 million multi-year prototype Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) in support of Project KANAGAWA (the Co-Packaged Analog-Drive High-Bandwidth Optical Input/Output Project). The OTA, a non-traditional government contracting method for fast tracking research and innovation, was issued by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division to support the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research & Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) Trusted & Assured Microelectronics (T&AM) program.
Optical I/O: Designing the Future of Digital Beamforming and Antenna Arrays
Digital beamforming is the core technology driving advanced radar and communications systems for the aerospace industry. Digital beamforming, which uses a large number of elements in antenna arrays, enables faster, more precise, higher fidelity radar. Higher fidelity requires more elements generating more data. Only optical I/O from Ayar Labs can manage the quadratic increase in bandwidth density needed to deliver precise, higher fidelity phased array radar.
“Ultimately, we want to go to significantly smaller subarray sizes on our radars, towards digital beamforming. Optical I/O is a key to that as we integrate more advanced digital receiver technology into our systems. This could be a big boon for us in other areas where there are even more SWaP constraints, including airborne applications and missile applications. The ability to efficiently remote high-rate data from a digital receiver to another place in the airframe can be very important.”
“If you think about the fiber interconnects just a few years back, it would be impossible to implement fiber in a distributed way. Now, by miniaturizing PICs and integrating, the optical device becomes part of a multi-function system in package enabling decreased SWaP without sacrificing performance.”
“As the complexity and amount of data grows on the battlefield, faster decision-making is essential. New innovative system architectures, coupled with AI and machine learning techniques, are needed for our customers’ mission success. Ayar Labs’ optical interconnect solution provides the necessary technology to process spectral information with greater speed and lower latency for next-generation system designs.”
Cloud and Data Center
Major cloud and data center service providers are looking to optical I/O to deliver new innovations in system designs, such as disaggregated architectures that allow matching resources to workloads. Companies such as Intel, Google, and HPE see opportunities for multiple applications for their customers in terms of increased bandwidth, performance, and flexibility while reducing power consumption.
Efficient Power Usage
High Bandwidth Memory
Optical I/O Chiplets Eliminate
Bottlenecks to Unleash Innovation
Ayar Labs is the first to deliver monolithic in-package optical I/O (OIO) chiplets, a new universal I/O solution that enables chips to communicate with each other from millimeter to kilometer-scale, at the power, latency, and bandwidth density of in-package interconnect. Several technology trends point to the arrival of OIO chiplets as a critical industry inflection point…
Intel + Ayar Labs
Anil Rao, VP & GM Systems Architecture & Engineering, Intel: Pushing the envelope with optical I/O.
“We’re seeing rapid growth of data-centric workloads with an insatiable demand for bandwidth and the need to connect devices at hyper-scale distances. Optical interconnects are the ideal solution for many of these applications, and an optical I/O chiplet solution like the one provided by Ayar Labs for this project can achieve very high bandwidth at low latency and low power consumption.”
"I think the first thing we need to get past is the limitations of copper. We pretty much understand that every time we bump up the speeds of the SerDes, the wires get shorter and shorter. And so, we're constraining and constraining and constraining our ability to compose and mix and match resources. So optical seems like a clear path, long term."
“This partnership between Intel and Ayar Labs is going to drive the bandwidth, the latency, the number of channels of communication, which will open up newer and newer applications in the industry”
Optical I/O enables disaggregated architectures that decouple memory from processors and accelerators, allowing memory to be pooled with low latency and high performance. These new architectures provide flexible designs that can be shifted to meet the demands of ever-increasing AI workloads. NVIDIA believes optical I/O is a key technology on the path to its next million-X speedup in AI.
Ayar Labs’ optical I/O unleashes the potential of next-generation AI compute architectures
Ayar Labs, the leader in chip-to-chip optical connectivity, is developing with NVIDIA groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure based on optical I/O technology to meet future demands of AI and high performance computing (HPC) workloads.
Ayar Labs’ Optical I/O Enables Disaggregated Architectures for Cloud, AI, and HPC
Disaggregated architectures are shifting the paradigm of innovation by enabling resource composability for more efficient utilization in Cloud, AI, and high performance computing.
“Optical connectivity will be important to scale accelerated computing clusters to meet the fast-growing demands of AI and HPC workloads. Ayar Labs has unique optical I/O technology that meets the needs of scaling next-generation silicon photonics-based architectures for AI.
“We will need much faster interconnects because as models get bigger, and more compute and data is needed to train them, it’s necessary to scale out to many racks worth of machines. Interconnect bandwidth during scale-out is critical to preventing the accelerators from stalling while waiting on network transfers for either data or gradients.”
“To get to a future state of ‘AI everywhere,’ we’ll need to address the crush of data being generated and ensure enterprises are empowered to make efficient use of their data, processing it where it’s collected when it makes sense and making smarter use of their upstream resources.”
“Over the past decade, NVIDIA-accelerated computing has delivered a million-X speedup in AI. The next million-X will require new, advanced technologies like optical I/O to support the bandwidth, power and scale requirements of future AI and ML workloads and system architectures.”
High Performance Computing
Ayar Labs’ in-package optical I/O delivers up to 1000x bandwidth density improvements at one-tenth the power compared to electrical I/O. Future generations of HPE Slingshot, a high-performance Ethernet fabric specifically designed for HPC and AI solutions, plan to include optical I/O to deliver unprecedented bandwidth and speed, at lower levels of power and latency, to meet customers‘ growing demands for scale and performance.