The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

HPE's New Chip Marks a Milestone in Optical Computing

The experimental 1,000-component optical processor is made for challenges like the “traveling salesman problem”

4 min read
Photo: Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Photo: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

/image/Mjg0NDIwOA.jpegLight And Heat: A lot of the real estate on this all-optical processor is taken up by wiring for on-chip heaters.Image: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

We may use photons to carry our data, but we rely on the electron to put it to use. One day that division of labor might not be so stark. A team at Hewlett Packard Labs, in Palo Alto, Calif., has built a demonstration chip that could help push some particularly thorny computations into the realm of light, potentially boosting speed and saving energy in the process.

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

The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

Keep Reading ↓Show less