IBM is set to break Moore's Law with a chip that can transfer data at speeds eight times faster than the quickest parallel optical components available today.
We're used to seeing speeds, capacity and bandwidth effectively double every couple of years, but IBM scientists have revealed a prototype that takes a quantum leap in chipset design. It's a parallel optical transceiver that can transfer data at 1 terabit per second — enough to download 500 high-definition movies in a flash.
The transceiver consumes less than 5 watts, so the future is not only faster — it's also extremely power efficient.
IBM Holey Optochip with lasers and photodectors visible through substrate holes.
IBM said that its Holey Optochip prototype demonstrates that high-speed, low-power interconnects are feasible in the near term. It also showcases the merits of optical circuitry over traditional semiconductors and metal circuits.
If it lives up to the hype, the new chip will give the sort of grunt that could add significantly to the speed efficiency of large datacentres, particularly when it comes to complex processing activity. Let's hope that we have the internet access speeds to reap the benefits of this big leap forward.