‘Multiplying’ light could be key to ultra-powerful optical computers

EurekAlert  February 8, 2021
An international team of researchers (Russia, UK) found that optical systems can combine light by multiplying the wave functions describing the light waves instead of adding them and may represent a different type of connections between the light waves. If the coupling and light intensity is right, the light multiplies, affecting the phases of the individual pulses, giving away the answer to the problem. They found that there is no need to project the continuous light phases onto ‘0’ and ‘1’ states necessary for solving problems in binary variables. Instead, the system tends to bring about these states at the end of its search for the minimum energy configuration. This is the property that comes from multiplying the light signals. They suggested and implemented a way to guide the system trajectories towards the solution by temporarily changing the coupling strengths of the signals. The many challenges to be met before optical computing can demonstrate its superiority in solving hard problems include noise reduction, error correction, improved scalability, guiding the system to the true best solution are among them. The research may bring optical computing machines closer to solving real-world problems that cannot be solved by classical computers…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

Schematic of light pulse interactions as the proposed optical computer solves higher order binary optimisation problems… Credit: Gleb Berloff

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