Optical computers light up the horizon

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Thursday 9 September

Online

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Optical chips will power our future datacenters and supercomputers

    Credit: Martijn Heck

Price

Pay what you can

Event description

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.

In this talk, Martijn Heck will show how light and lasers are taking over electronics in computers. 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.

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

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Event type

This is a livestream event where the speaker and audience come together online. 

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About the speaker

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.

Timing

The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you register but miss the live stream, the video will be available to you via the same link for up to a week after the event date.

The Royal Institution is part of the Amazon Affiliate Programme and book links on this page are affiliate links, which means it won't cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link. All proceeds help support the charitable work of the Ri. Affiliate disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate The Royal Institution earns from qualifying purchases.

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