Optalysys completes 320 gigaFLOP optical computer prototype, targets 9 petaFLOP product in 2017 and 17 exaFLOPS machine by 2020

Optalysys announced that the company has successfully developed a demonstrable prototype that can process mathematical functions optically in a scaleable, lensless design.

Optalysys optical processing systems will “turbo-charge” existing computers by performing processor-intensive tasks at much faster rates and with a significant reduction in energy consumption. The prototype is portable and has a footprint similar to a desktop computer. The technology has the potential to achieve Exascale processing levels by 2020.

The prototype demonstrates optical derivative functions – mathematical building blocks commonly used in complex engineering model simulations such as weather prediction and aerodynamic modeling. It also performs correlation pattern matching used in Big Data analysis such as DNA analysis and financial modeling.

The prototype achieves a processing speed equivalent to 320 gigaFLOPs and, because it uses light rather than electricity as the processing medium, it is incredibly energy efficient. Now the principles of the approach have been proven, Optalysys is ramping-up the processing capabilities of the technology.

The first project to utilize Optalysys technology starts next month in collaboration with The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) to build a Genetic Search System called GENESYS. The system will perform large-scale DNA sequence searches with energy savings of over 95% per year. The project has been granted £0.5 million in funding from the government partner Innovate UK.

Optalysys initial products will launch in 2017 and are expected to enable existing computers to achieve HPC-levels of performance up to an equivalent processing rate of 9 petaFLOPs – comparable to the 5th fastest computer in the world today,” said Optalysys Chairman, James Duez. “Following that we plan to pursue the design of larger systems capable of achieving multiple exaFLOPs by 2020.”

Their fully-optical computer is aimed at many of the same tasks for which GPUs are currently used. Amazingly, Optalysis is claiming that they can create an optical solver supercomputer astonishing 17 exaFLOPS machine by 2020. GPGPU’s have been used to implement the latest Artificial intelligence deep learning algorithms by Baidu.

Cambridge UK optical processing business Optalysys Ltd, has announced that it is part of a major collaboration project known as ESCAPE, led by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) and involving 10 other organisations.

The European Commission has favourably evaluated the proposal for ESCAPE for a €4m grant through its Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. The grant is subject to final confirmation by the Commission expected at the end of June 2015.

The aim of ESCAPE (Energy-efficient Scalable Algorithms for Weather Prediction at Exascale) is to develop world-class, extreme-scale computing capabilities for European operational numerical weather prediction (NWP). It will do this by defining fundamental algorithm building blocks to run the next generation of NWP on energy-efficient, heterogeneous HPC architectures. The project will pair world-leading NWP with innovative HPC solutions, fostering economic growth, EU business competitiveness and job creation.

SOURCES – Optalysis, Youtube, InsideHPC

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