The Silicon Solution

In the future, ordinary silicon chips will move data using light rather than electrons, unleashing nearly limitless bandwidth and revolutionizing computing

13 min read
Photo: Joson/Zefa/Corbis
Photo: Joson/Zefa/Corbis

The relentless push of Moore's Law has allowed data rates to soar, Internet traffic to swell, and wired and wireless technology to cover continents. Increasingly, we all expect fast, free-flowing bandwidth whenever and wherever we connect with the world. Within the next decade, the circuitry embodied by a rack of today's servers, able to churn through billions of bits of data per second and handle all the data-processing needs of a small company, will fit neatly on a single silicon chip half the size of a postage stamp.

But there's a problem. As newer, faster microprocessors roll out, the copper connections that feed those processors within computers and servers will prove inadequate to handle the crushing tides of data. At data rates approaching 10 billion bits per second, microscopic imperfections in the copper or irregularities in a printed-circuit board begin to weaken and distort the signals--even traveling distances as short as 50 centimeters can be a problem. New board materials and new techniques could provide some additional performance gains, but only at increased cost.

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Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Remembering 1982 IEEE President Robert Larson

He was a supporter of several IEEE programs including Smart Village

3 min read
A photo of two men in suits.  One behind the other.

Robert Larson [left] with IEEE Life Fellow Eric Herz, who served as IEEE general manager and executive director.

IEEE History Center

Robert E. Larson, 1982 IEEE president, died on 10 March at the age of 83.

An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Larson was the 1975–1976 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and also served as IEEE Foundation president.

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Distinguishing weak signals from noise is a challenging task in data acquisition. In this webinar, we will explain challenges and explore solutions. Register now!
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