Researchers demonstrate information processing using a light-based chip inspired by our brain

March 31, 2014, Ghent University

In a recent paper in Nature Communications, researchers from Ghent University report on a novel paradigm to do optical information processing on a chip, using techniques inspired by the way our brain works.

Neural networks have been employed in the past to solve pattern recognition problems like speech recognition or image recognition, but so far, these bio-inspired techniques have been implemented mostly in software on a traditional computer. What UGent researchers have done is implemented a small (16 nodes) neural network directly in hardware, using a silicon photonics . Such a chip is fabricated using the same technology as traditional computer chips, but uses light rather than electricity as the information carrier. This approach has many benefits including the potential for extremely high speeds and .

The UGent researchers have experimentally shown that the same chip can be used for a large variety of tasks, like arbitrary calculations with memory on a bit stream or header recognition (an operation relevant in telecom networks: the header is an address indicating where the data needs to be sent). Additionally, simulations have shown that the same chip can perform a limited form of , by recognising individual spoken digits ("one", "two", … etc.).

Explore further: Improved design of lasers on optoelectronic chips will advance optical communications

More information: "Experimental demonstration of reservoir computing on a silicon photonics chip," Kristof Vandoorne, Pauline Mechet, Thomas Van Vaerenbergh, Martin Fiers, Geert Morthier, David Verstraeten, Benjamin Schrauwen, Joni Dambre & Peter Bienstman, Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3541, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4541 , Published: 24 March 2014

Related Stories

D-Wave chip passes rigorous tests

March 5, 2014

With cutting-edge technology, sometimes the first step scientists face is just making sure it actually works as intended.

Photonics: Enabling next-generation wireless networks

March 12, 2014

Wireless transmission at microwave frequencies is important for high-data-rate transmission applications, such as mobile phone networks, satellite links and remote imaging. Now, Xianshu Luo and colleagues from the A*STAR ...

Recommended for you

Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin's heels

January 14, 2018

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting.

Top takeaways from Consumers Electronics Show

January 13, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded Friday in Las Vegas, drew some 4,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries and more than 170,000 attendees, showcased some of the latest from the technology world.

Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

January 12, 2018

A new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.