Successfully verify the advantages of photon computing and break through the boundary of integrated circuit industry with photon technology

On December 15, 2021, lightelligence, the world’s leading photonic computing chip company, released its latest high-performance photonic computing processor – pace (photonic arithmetic computing engine) – which integrates more than 10000 photonic devices in a single photonic chip and runs a 1GHz system clock, The speed of running a specific cyclic neural network can be hundreds of times that of the current high-end GPU. Pace has successfully verified the superiority of photon computing, which is another major breakthrough of Xizhi technology in the integrated circuit industry.


Xizhi technology releases the latest photon computing processor – pace

The vigorous development of emerging fields such as AI, 5g and the Internet of things has driven the explosive growth of global data. The growth rate of demand for computing power is much higher than that predicted by Moore’s law. Traditional electronic chips can only complete more computing by increasing area and power consumption, which has gradually been unable to meet the growing requirements of data processing and energy saving. Using light instead of electrolytic computing has become an effective way to break through the existing bottleneck. Photonic chip may have a broader market development space with the characteristics of high throughput, low delay and low power consumption.

Based on the basic principle of extremely low delay of optical execution matrix vector multiplication, the latest photon computing processor pace released by Xizhi technology realizes low delay by repeating matrix multiplication and skillfully using the tight loop composed of controlled noise, thus generating high-quality solutions to ising problem and Max cut / min cut problem.

Pace contains 64×64 optical matrix. The core part is stacked by an integrated silicon optical chip and a CMOS microelectronic chip in the form of 3D package. For each optical matrix multiplication, the input vector value is first extracted from the on-chip storage, converted into analog value by digital to analog converter, and applied to the corresponding optical modulator through the micro bump between electronic chip and photonic chip to form the input optical vector. Then, the input light vector propagates through the optical matrix to generate the output light vector, and reaches a group of photodetector arrays to convert the light intensity into a current signal. Finally, the electrical signal returns to the electronic chip through the micro bump, and returns to the digital domain through the transimpedance amplifier and analog-to-digital converter. The test shows that the computing speed of pace can reach hundreds of times that of the current high-end GPU.

Dr. Shen Yichen, founder and CEO of Xizhi technology, said: “The release of pace is a milestone: it successfully verified the advantages of photon computing and provided a new development path for the integrated circuit industry. In addition, it also fully demonstrated the seamless operation mode of photon chip and traditional electronic chip, which is due to the 3D Packaging Innovation of Xizhi optoelectronic packaging team.”

Maurice Steinman, vice president of Xizhi technology engineering, said: “Pace has successfully verified the optical computing technology module in our product line. Another important module is optical interconnection. Our optical interconnection technology can be used in a variety of transmission media, including optical cables, integrated waveguides at the chip, intermediate layer and wafer level, and provides high-throughput, low delay and energy-efficient data transmission and interconnection. The successful combination of optical interconnection and optical computing will Lay a solid foundation for high-performance products for accelerator, server and data center requirements.

In 2017, as the first author, Dr. Shen Yichen published a cover paper in the journal Nature photons, showing the world a new starting point of integrated photon computing for the first time. In the same year, he brought the scientific research achievements to the market and established Xizhi technology, which is committed to transforming the cutting-edge technology of photonics into a landing computing chip solution. While improving the computing power exponentially, he broke through the bottleneck of traditional electronic chips in terms of energy consumption and heating. In 2019, Xizhi technology released the world’s first photonic chip prototype board, successfully integrated the entire photonic computing system occupying half of the laboratory into a conventional board, and verified the pioneering idea of using photons to replace electrons for high-performance computing. As a world-class leader in photon computing, Xizhi technology currently has nearly 200 full-time employees around the world, the proportion of R & D personnel is more than 80%, and the cumulative financing is more than one billion yuan.

Dr. Shen Yichen said: “in the future, Xizhi technology will further provide unprecedented computing power in the fields of data center, cloud computing, finance and automatic driving through a platform with high integration, low power consumption and not limited by Moore’s law, so as to make the world different due to ‘light’.

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