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Intel May Have a New Super-fast Technology to Connect Chips

Intel has been working on a new project that looks into hastening communications between silicon chips assisting in acceleration of the work of cloud data centers while at the same time-saving energy. The effort, however, according to one wall street journal, won’t be ready for commercial applications for another three to five years.

How it works

The technology embeds fiber optic connections and tiny lasers into a chip to directly transmit data to another chip. This was said by Christopher Rolland of Susquehanna Financial. Rolland added that there was bound to be the need for higher speed transmission between chips in the future. He added in his report that the technology had the potential to be a significant game changer not only for Intel but also for the industry at large.

Poor market for Intel

Intel could opt for a few game changers following a market that is not so much for its PC chips. Its data center is doing well, though, but efforts to plunge into new markets like manufacturing chips for mobile devices have not yielded much. Intel’s revenue increased by a mere 3% in the first nine months of 2016 and that was without the inclusion of the acquisition of Altera, a smaller chip maker the previous year.

Boosting the sales and making it more efficient

Silicon photonics could, however, boost the sales of these chips considerably by making Intel’s data center chips more efficient.  For instance, an Intel Xeon chip could adopt the new technology in the direct transmission of information to a field programmable gate array used by data centers to run special algorithms for large data analysis and machine learning.

Intel has gone public with its plans to integrate silicon photonics onto its chips directly. It has, nevertheless, not given details of how the integration would operate.

In August, the company was on record talking about how it had created devi111ces which incorporated silicon photonics to move data at the rate of 100GB/s over distances of close to seven kilometers.  The current products are looking to move information around cloud data centers and not from chip to chip.

Other companies working on this technology include Cisco Systems (CSCO, +0.13% and IBM, (IBM -0.16%) and smaller private firms including Rockley Phonics and Luxtera.