Light-carrying chips advance machine learning, say experts

The researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a new light-based approach to combine processing and data storage onto a single chip.

ANI | Lausanne | Updated: 07-01-2021 12:44 IST | Created: 07-01-2021 12:28 IST
Light-carrying chips advance machine learning, say experts
Representative Image. Image Credit: ANI

The researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a new light-based approach to combine processing and data storage onto a single chip. The exponential growth of data traffic in our digital age poses some real challenges in processing power. And with the advent of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in, for example, self-driving vehicles and speech recognition, the upward trend is set to continue. All this places a heavy burden on the ability of current computer processors to keep up with demand.

To tackle the problem, the researchers have developed a new approach and architecture that combines processing and data storage onto a single chip by using light-based, or 'photonic' processors, which are shown to surpass conventional electronic chips by processing information much more rapidly and in parallel. The scientists developed a hardware accelerator for so-called matrix-vector multiplications, which are the backbone of neural networks (algorithms that simulate the human brain), which themselves are used for machine-learning algorithms.

Since different light wavelengths (colors) don't interfere with each other, the researchers could use multiple wavelengths of light for parallel calculations. But to do this, they used another innovative technology, developed at EPFL, a chip-based "frequency comb", as a light source. "Our study is the first to apply frequency combs in the field of artificial neural networks," says Professor Tobias Kippenberg at EPFL, one of the study's leads.

"Light-based processors for speeding up tasks in the field of machine learning enable complex mathematical tasks to be processed at high speeds and throughputs," says senior co-author Wolfram Pernice at Munster University, one of the professors who led the research. After designing and fabricating the photonic chips, the researchers tested them on a neural network that recognizes hand-written numbers. Inspired by biology, these networks are a concept in the field of machine learning and are used primarily in the processing of image or audio data.

"This work is a real showcase of European collaborative research," says David Wright at the University of Exeter, who leads the EU project FunComp, which funded the work. The study is published in Nature and has far-reaching applications: higher simultaneous (and energy-saving) processing of data in AI, larger neural networks for more accurate forecasts and more precise data analysis, large amounts of clinical data for diagnoses, enhancing rapid evaluation of sensor data in self-driving vehicles, and expanding cloud computing infrastructures with more storage space, computing power, and applications software.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Addressing conflict-related sexual violence at long last

... ...

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...


Latest News

IS claims responsibility for attack on media workers in eastern Afghanistan - SITE intelligence group

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack that killed three female media workers in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday evening.The militant group, which has a presence in Afghanistan, said its fighters had targeted the three female...

Primetime Emmy Awards 2021 to air on September 19, Television Academy announces

CBS and the Television Academy announced the airdate of the 73rd Emmy Awards on Tuesday local time. This years Emmys will air live on Sunday, September 19 at 8 p.m. ET which is 5 p.m. PT. The ceremony will air on CBS as well as on-demand on...

Just 1 % of Fortune 500 companies led by Black chief executives: World Economic Forum

Just one per cent of Fortune 500 companies are led by Black chief executives, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum WEF, Saadia Zahidi said.Bengaluru-headquartered information technology services major Wipro Limitedon Wednesdayannou...

Second biggest focus is on education after reforms in health, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stressed on the need to reform the education sector by including skill development, research and innovation for a self-reliant India. To build Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the youth of the country needs sel...

Give Feedback