The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Get on the Optical Bus

IBM’s light-powered links overcome the greatest speed bump in supercomputing: interconnect bandwidth

10 min read
Opening illustration
Illustration: McKibillo

Sad but true: About three-quarters of the time, your computer processor is doing nothing more than waiting for data—the cybernetic equivalent of twiddling one’s thumbs. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got the latest processor, surrounded it with high-speed RAM, or lovingly hot-rodded your system with the latest in liquid cooling. Your speed is primarily set not by the processing power you have but by the connections that stand between that processor and the data it needs.

The problem is that data transfer is accomplished by the movement of an electronic signal along old-fashioned copper wires—the same basic phenomenon that a century and a half ago carried news of the U.S. Civil War over telegraph lines. It’s time we saw the light—literally—and stopped shackling ourselves to electrons moving along copper conductors.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

IEEE’s Medal of Honor Ebook Explores 100 Years of Innovation

It celebrates recipients such as Intel’s Robert Noyce

4 min read
a book that reads “Over 100 Years of the IEEE Medal of Honor” against a blue background
IEEE

For more than a century, IEEE has been honoring technology pioneers with its Medal of Honor. The organization’s most prestigious award, it is given to engineers who have made exceptional contributions to or had an extraordinary career in electronics, electrical sciences, and engineering.

To celebrate the award’s long history, IEEE recently released a commemorative ebook, Over 100 Years of the IEEE Medal of Honor. The volume chronicles the innovators who have received the award since its establishment in 1917. The Medal of Honor has been awarded annually since its establishment except in 1925, 1947, 1965, and 1976.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

How to Stake Electronic Components Using Adhesives

Staking provides extra mechanical support for various electronic parts

2 min read
Adhesive staking of DIP component on a circuit board using Master Bond EP17HTDA-1.

The main use for adhesive staking is to provide extra mechanical support for electronic components and other parts that may be damaged due to vibration, shock, or handling.

Master Bond

This is a sponsored article brought to you by Master Bond.

Sensitive electronic components and other parts that may be damaged due to vibration, shock, or handling can often benefit from adhesive staking. Staking provides additional mechanical reinforcement to these delicate pieces.

Keep Reading ↓Show less