Ayar Labs Demonstrates Industry’s First 4-Tbps Optical Solution, Paving Way for Next-Generation AI and Data Center Designs

Mar 1, 2023News

Company now shipping in-package optical I/O solutions with sub-10 nanoseconds (ns) latency and sub-10 Watts of power needed for leading semiconductor, AI/HPC and aerospace customers to support next-generation data-intensive workloads

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – March 1, 2023 – Ayar Labs, a leader in the use of silicon photonics for chip-to-chip optical connectivity, today announced public demonstration of the industry’s first 4 terabit-per-second (Tbps) bidirectional Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) optical solution at the upcoming Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) in San Diego on March 5-9, 2023. The company achieves this latest milestone as it works with leading high-volume manufacturing and supply partners including GlobalFoundries, Lumentum, Macom, Sivers Photonics and others to deliver the optical interconnects needed for data-intensive applications. Separately, the company was featured in an announcement with partner Quantifi Photonics on a CW-WDM-compliant test platform for its SuperNova™ light source, also at OFC.

In-package optical I/O uniquely changes the power and performance trajectories of system design by enabling compute, memory and network silicon to communicate with a fraction of the power and dramatically improved performance, latency and reach versus existing electrical I/O solutions. Delivered in a compact, co-packaged CMOS chiplet, optical I/O becomes foundational to next-generation AI, disaggregated data centers, dense 6G telecommunications systems, phased array sensory systems and more.

“In-package optical I/O solutions have the potential to transform how semiconductor, AI, HPC and aerospace customers process their next-generation, data-intensive workloads,” said Craig Thompson, vice president of Business Development for Networking at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA’s accelerated computing platform is enabled by advanced technologies such as WDM optical interconnects to equip tomorrow’s innovators with the extreme performance they need.”

At OFC, Ayar Labs will have a first public demonstration showing its optical I/O solution moving  data  from one TeraPHY™ optical I/O chiplet to another at 2.048 Tbps each direction powered by their SuperNova light source. SuperNova powers 8 fiber links (using 64 highly accurate wavelengths operating at 32 Gbps, for 8 wavelengths and 256 Gbps per individual fiber) running error free at lower than 10ns of latency and without needing Forward Error Correction (FEC). This allows for a total bandwidth of 2.048 Tbps each direction, or 4.096 Tbps bidirectional. More importantly, the data transfer is using less than 5 pJ/bit (10W), a high level of energy efficiency, providing the power density and performance per watt needed to achieve AI models with trillions of parameters, advanced HPC designs and more.

“Ayar Labs continues to showcase our technology leadership with this live silicon demonstration, an industry-first milestone on the path to overcoming the impending power and performance wall of electrical design, and unleashing the power of next generation compute,” said Charlie Wuischpard, CEO, Ayar Labs. “As we bring together all the supply, manufacturing, test and compute pieces needed for high-volume deployment, we also show today that we continue to lead in pure technical achievement.”

“Revenue generated by optical I/O for high performance computing (HPC) was around US$5 million in 2022 and is expected to reach US$2.3 billion in 2033 with a 74% Compound Annual Growth Rate for 2022-2033”,(1) explains Martin Vallo, Senior Analyst, Photonics, at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group. “Projections of rapidly growing training dataset sizes underline that data will become the main bottleneck for scaling machine learning (ML) models, resulting in a potential slowdown in artificial intelligence (AI) progress. Using optical I/O in ML hardware can help overcome this bottleneck, and could be the main driver for its adoption in next-gen HPC systems.”

Additional resources:

  • Blog:  “In-Package Optical I/O versus Co-Packaged Optics – Let’s Get Technical!” by Vladimir Stojanovic, Chief Architect and Co-Founder, Ayar Labs
  • Press release: Quantifi Photonics announces the Laser 1300 Series laser test source powered by Ayar Labs’ SuperNova™ multi-wavelength, multi-port light source

Ayar Labs at OFC:

  • Live demonstration of Ayar Labs’ 4 Tbps optical I/O solution in OFC booth #6008
  • Live demonstration of Ayar Labs’ SuperNova™ optical source in Sivers Photonics OFC booth #5400
  • For a full list of Ayar Labs’ activities at OFC, visit our OFC web page

About Ayar Labs
Ayar Labs is using light to disrupt traditional compute power and performance curves, enabling the next design breakthroughs for trillions of AI connections, disaggregated data centers, 6G, phased array sensory systems and more. Ayar Labs’ patented approach uses silicon photonics techniques to replace traditional electrical-based I/O with high speed, highly efficient optical interconnect chiplets and multi-wavelength lasers. The company was founded in 2015 and is funded by a number of domestic and international venture capital as well as strategic investors such as GlobalFoundries, Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, Intel Capital, Lockheed Martin Ventures and NVIDIA. For more information, visit www.ayarlabs.com.

(1) Source: Co-packaged Optics for Datacenter report, Yole Intelligence, 2023

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