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.
Enabling Data-Intensive, Real-Time Battlefield Communication: The Role of Silicon Photonics in Next-Gen
Lockheed Martin Corporation is exploring converged-sensor system architectures as an alternative to siloed sensor systems. With this approach, platforms use high-performance radio frequency and electro-optic/infrared sensors for multiple tasks, shared across multiple systems.
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
4 Tbps Optical FPGA Technology from Intel and Ayar Labs: Spend Your Precious Power on Compute, Not Connectivity
Sergey Shumarayev, Intel senior principal engineer/distinguished architect, shares how optical FPGA technology addresses socket power challenges for data-intensive applications like generative AI.
GlobalFoundries & Ayar Labs: Delivering Optical I/O for the Continued Rise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Dr. Anthony J. Yu, VP, silicon photonics product management, GlobalFoundries, examines Ayar Labs’ and GlobalFoundries’ long-term partnership and optical I/O product roadmap. Dr. Yu also addresses how Ayar Labs’ optical technology unlocks the compute power necessary for data-intensive applications like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“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
Generative AI is enabling transformative outcomes, but model complexity is growing exponentially. Traditional interconnects create a bottleneck for data, forcing GPUs to remain idle a majority of the time. We need a new approach to generative AI architecture: optically connect nodes at scale so they effectively work like a single, giant GPU.
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.