Why in-fiber photonics may outperform current semiconductors
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Cognifiber has announced $6 million in series A funding. The Israeli start-up aims to bring in-fiber photonic processing to market. The technology, the company claims, could deliver a 100x improvement in speed while reducing power consumption by 80%.
Traditionally, computing has advanced by shrinking silicon-based transistors every two years as described by Moore’s Law. Cognifiber, however, is using a new approach to computation, which it claims significantly outperforms current semiconductor technologies.
Cognifiber says it can perform complex computations on the fly by using light passing through optical fibers. This could lead to a 100-fold improvement in speed and power efficiency. Through the $6 million in funding, Cognifiber aims to create and bring a scalable product to market.
Fiber optics in the data center
Today, fiber optics are mainly used for communication. By integrating some of the components, such as the laser, silicon photonics has found its way into the data center in the form of transceivers that are connected to switches. Intel, for example, has a growing silicon photonics business. However, Intel said it’s less interested in photonics for computation because the wavelength of light is much larger than a transistor, and also because no light-based memory technology exists to store the results.
Nevertheless, it seems Intel is still watching how start-ups like Cognifiber can use the technology for computation. “Senior engineers at Intel were excited to drill down into every aspect of our technology, reviewing its viability to revolutionize how computers operate today,” said Professor Ze’ev Zalevsky, co-founder and CTO of CogniFiber. “This technology will help deliver on the promise of photonic computing to safety, cybersecurity, autonomous driving, AI-developed medicines, and countless other applications.”
Cognifiber’s cofounders started the company in 2018, after spending years as part of Intel’s Ingenuity Partner Program. The recent $6 million round was led by Chartered Group. Cognifiber isn’t the only company working on light-based computation. For example, Celestial AI recently raised $56 million.
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