Unlocking the True Potential of AI with In-Package Optical I/O

Jan 20, 2021 | Resources, Solution Brief

In just a couple of short years in artificial intelligence (AI), optical interconnects have gone from being barely discussed to becoming a critical feature in the future architectures of leading vendors. In fact, based on current trends, it’s arguable that without optical I/O, AI and machine learning (ML) will never reach their full potential. That begs the question: what’s driving this pivot toward optical interconnects, and what optical AI technology breakthroughs are critical to maximizing progress?

This brief explores:

  • The current technology and model-related trends that are leading to interconnect bottlenecks that will stifle AI and ML system scalability.
  • How leading vertically integrated vendors are approaching the problem.
  • Why Ayar Labs’ innovative in-package interconnects provide the most practical and efficient solutions for massive AI and ML model scaling.

While this paper makes a case for the importance of next-generation optical interconnects to unleash the next wave of innovation in AI and ML, it is important to acknowledge that interconnects are only one important piece in the puzzle. Ultimately, the only way to solve the challenges outlined in this brief are through an iterative process of hardware and software codesign. However, as vendors and labs build massive scale-out systems and redesign algorithms to take advantage of new hardware and system architectures, optical I/O will be the key to unlocking communication between vast numbers of compute nodes.

Paradigm Change: Reinventing HPC Architectures with In-Package Optical I/O

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