Intel Makes a Silicon Laser

It's not the first, and it's not yet practical, but it's a big step toward cheap multigigabit-per-second computer networks

3 min read

7 January 2005--Scientists at Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, Calif., reported on 5 January that they have built an experimental laser out of silicon. In principle, such lasers could allow the integration of electronics and optics in standard-issue silicon chips, rather than in chips made of exotic semiconductors. If that happens, fiber-optic connections now seen only in long-haul telecommunications networks could finally come to the lowly PC.

Many research groups have quested after a silicon laser, only to be frustrated by the material's uncooperative electronic nature: in response to a current, it usually generates far more heat than light. One of the best results had been achieved by Salvo Coffa, the research director of soft computing, silicon optics, and post silicon technologies for STMicroelectronics NV, in Geneva. But while Coffa's method of injecting current into a specially engineered silicon diode has yielded an efficient light-emitting diode, it cannot yet support a continous laser--the device most needed for optoelectronic applications.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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