Are Optical Computers the Future of Computing? – with Martijn Heck

From The Royal Institution.

Since their invention, computers have become faster and faster, as a result of our ability to increase the number of transistors on a processor chip. However, we are now approaching the limits of this electronic technology.
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Processors can now contain tiny lasers and light detectors, allowing them to send and receive data through small optical fibres, at speeds far exceeding the copper lines we use now. We are even starting to see optical processors: chips that use laser light and optical switches, instead of currents and electronic transistors, to do calculations. Martijn will give insight in the underlying technology, and present a vision for future computing.

Martijn Heck has a PhD in electrical engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, on the topic of photonic integration, where he is currently a full professor. Previously he held research and academic positions at the University of California Santa Barbara, US, and at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research is focused on photonic integrated circuits, or optical chips, and how these can improve exponential technologies like computing and communication.

This event is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

This talk was filmed on 9 September 2021.
Thumbnail image credit: Martijn Heck

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