Chip Startups Using Light For Processing Gets Massive Funding

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Startups that use computers that use light instead of electricity receive massive financial support.

According to data firm PitchBook, silicon photonics startups raised over $750 million in 2021, double the amount in 2020.

Silicon photonics uses silicon as an optical medium and uses less energy to transmit data faster than other communication technologies.

Since silicon photonics uses optical beams for data transfer, they often find applications in solutions that have both optical and computational functions.

Despite its promising future, there is still a long way to go as the method currently faces several challenges.

One of the challenges is that many large machine-learning algorithms can use hundreds or thousands of chips for computing. This is even more complicated because there is a bottleneck in the speed of data transfer between chips or servers using current electrical methods.

Despite the challenges, PitchBook’s senior emerging technology analyst Brendan Burke expects silicon photonics to become a regular hardware in data centers by 2025. Burke also estimates that the market will reach $3 billion by then.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.


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