NEC AND the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed the technology for a ten-Petaflop supercomputer. The foundation of this beast is a network of optical interconnections between nests of chips. The Japanese government says it could be ready by 2010.
The optically connected chips can talk to each other at 25 gigabits per second, so between them they can calculate at warp factor speeds (there’s no figures available. Depends how many chips are aggregated). That’s a 250 per cent increase on the fastest speed that data can limp along cables.
The prototype converts electrical signals into optical signals using laser diodes, says our man at the Nikkei, and its connector bundles 1,000 fibres together to bring together the worlds most powerful aggregation of neighbouring chips.
IBM has also been making progress with on chip optical interconnections.
I had previously reported on this Japanese supercomputer project.