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On the Threshold of a World Connected by Optical I/O

by | Mar 17, 2022

Last week we attended OFC in San Diego, the largest global conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals. This was our first in-person event since early 2020. It was incredibly refreshing to reconnect face to face with customers, partners, and colleagues and meet new players in the industry. Across every aspect of the event, the topic of co-packaged optics emerged — from where the technology is today to the undeniable need for integrated optical I/O to drive the future of computing. Last year at OFC, we demonstrated our patented technology with the industry’s first Terabit optical link. This year, presentations from Nvidia, Broadcom, Intel, and others showed interesting co-packaged optics and optical I/O perspectives and solutions — confirming what we’ve been stating for years.

Ayar Labs demonstrated its SuperNova™ remote optical light source in the Macom booth at OFC 2022. As the first optical source designed to be compliant with the CW-WDM MSA specification, our SuperNova can be deployed across a wide range of applications including high-speed I/O, artificial intelligence, optical computing, and high density, co-packaged optics.

We are now focused on building scale for our product through key partnerships and ecosystem development. Our recent announcements with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lumentum to collaborate on product development, as well as our existing partnerships with GlobalFoundries, MACOM, and Sivers Photonics, underscore that we have the support of the leading companies and suppliers in the industry. We are now set to deliver substantial volume shipments to customers this year.

Our collaboration with HPE will focus on the development of high speed, high density, low power optical-based interconnects to target future generations of HPE Slingshot, the industry’s only high-performance Ethernet fabric specifically designed for high performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. By combining these technologies, our teams are well positioned to design next-generation high performance networking solutions and novel disaggregated system architectures to support the data-intensive demands of future HPC and AI workloads.

Optical I/O promises to bring new capabilities and advancements in virtually every field it touches — from AI, aerospace, telecommunications, HPC, cloud, data center, and more. Stay tuned for more announcements this year across these sectors.

In addition to our developments here at Ayar Labs, we see tremendous advancements and signs of ecosystem maturity as organizations coalesce around standards and specifications that will ensure open development and interoperability of applications for optical I/O. The CW-WDM MSA is gaining traction; there are now multiple large laser suppliers on board to build compliant and qualified solutions. This will benefit the industry, and we believe the MSA will continue to enjoy substantial industry support. We are also excited about the announcement of UCIe — a chip-to-chip interface built from the ground up to be compatible with optical links. It also has a clear scaling roadmap to address the growing needs of higher bandwidth and density.

What’s more, 2022 will see an increase in capital expenditures as we grow the brain trust that is our team. This past year we grew our operation with our first international office in London, and in 2022 we will be opening new offices in key locations around the United States. With these expansions we are growing our people — a diverse group of stars who will make profound impacts in technology for years to come. When I started with Ayar Labs, there were about a dozen people in the company. Today we have grown to nearly 100 employees, with a plan to reach nearly 150 by the year’s end.

We look forward to the rest of 2022 — a year that promises to be game-changing as computing systems transition away from the limitations of copper networking and electrical signaling to a future of computing at the speed of light.

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