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Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits

 
DrugTheChildren
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07/25/2011 09:14 PM

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Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits
If the project is successful, the new technology could allow for computer circuits that are capable of making nearly instantaneous calculations in life-or-death situations, such as locating a terrorist from a radio signal or deciding whether to eject a fighter pilot from a jet. It might also allow speedy processing of huge amounts of data, such as the video signals that currently guide the movements of robotic cars or scans of genetic data for clues to fighting diseases.

The research is led by Paul Prucnal, a Princeton professor of electrical engineering, and David Rosenbluth, a neuroscientist and principle engineer at Lockheed Martin's Advance Technology Laboratory, in Cherry Hill, N.J. It is funded by Lockheed Martin and Princeton's Stuart M. Essig '83 and Erin S. Enright '82 Fund for Innovation in Engineering and Neuroscience.

The project, which started in 2008, seeks to overcome the inherent speed constraints of electrical circuits, which are ultimately limited by the time it takes electricity to flow through wires. Instead of electrical wires, the team is using clear fiber-optic cables, through which information travels at nearly the speed of light. The "photonic" half of the project's name derives from photons, which are the fundamental unit of light, just as electrons are the fundamental unit of electricity. In conventional fiber-optic communications, photons speed information along great distances but are converted back to electrons once they reach a destination and the information needs to be processed. In Prucnal's lab, the processing occurs while the information is still encoded in light.
[link to www.physorg.com]
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Last Edited by Heretic™ on 07/25/2011 09:15 PM
DrugTheChildren (OP)

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07/25/2011 09:15 PM

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Re: Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits
yoda
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07/25/2011 09:17 PM
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Re: Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits
Applied Photonics Ltd
www.appliedphotonics.co.uk/ - Cached

Applied Photonics Ltd is a UK company specialising in technology based on Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). Since the company's formation in 1998
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2011 09:22 PM
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Re: Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits
Electricity flows at light-speed, doesn't it?
Of course there's resistance, lead-lag and such, but essentially, isn't that the case?
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2011 09:37 PM
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Re: Photonic neuron may compute a billion times faster than brain circuits
Some of us anyway.