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taylaron May13-07 10:05 PM

going completely fiber optic computers
So, because light is so fast and fiber optic cables can carry 3 different signals at at time and travel at the "speed of light"; why don't we have the technology to develop a computer that uses all fiber optics instead of wires or optics and wires (if your lucky)
I'm sure that if we did know how; I probably wouldn't be using this computer at the moment.
however; I do know that the short distances between two points on a computer is relatively small compared to long distance communication (fiber optics)
I'm worried that the production and cost of such as system wouldn't be "worth" the money and slight advance. But would it be?!?!

Isn't the rate of fiber optic signals standard slowed down because it takes time to translate them into electronic signals? compared to their potential rate of communication.

Crosson May13-07 11:02 PM

There has been research into optical computers, forgive me if I sound critical.

Do you know what a transistor is? A computer is not made of just wires. An optical transistor could one day be related to fiber optic technilogies, but you would have to explain what parts of the computer would become optical in what way.

chroot May13-07 11:10 PM

Many people are working on optical switches which could be used to build an optical computer. At the moment, the technology is at about the equivalent level of the ENIAC was for electrical computers. Wait another five decades, and we'll probably have optical computers.

The reason why optical switching elements are desired, however, has nothing to do with signal propagation velocity. The actual speed of the signal in metal wires on integrated circuits is rarely what limits the overall maximum computational speed. What limits their speed is the need to charge and discharge the unavoidable capacitance connected to each wire. Optical computers won't have such an "optical capacitance."

- Warren

BoredNL May13-07 11:27 PM

The problem is the translation. I have heard of a project that is actually trying to use light as the source of computation, but they have not been successful.

If you were to use fiber-optic cables in a computer, I am pretty sure it would be super expensive and the time it would take to translate the signal into an electrical impulse would be greater than simply sending that signal across a gold stamp on a board or even a regular copper wire.

I think if a computer that computed everything with light (or lasers) with even the display being the end result of that light.. That would be awesome. :)

chroot May14-07 12:14 AM

I should mention that our talk of optical computers has little to do with fiber optics. Optical computers would make use of waveguides, of course, but these waveguides would have little in common with ordinary circular-cross-section clad fiber optic cables. Fiber optics doesn't really have anything to do with integrated optical processors.

- Warren

taylaron May14-07 08:01 PM

Hey, Thanks everybody,
I guess i'm going to have to wait a little while before I see these puppies out on the market. I think it is also a matter of developing new technologies and optical materials with new properties.
Thanks for your help.

Shelnutt2 May14-07 08:07 PM

Let me try to find the link, but Intel has been experimenting with using lasers to replace the bus in the computer. iirc they said by 2015 we should see lasers being used in place of CIS/HTT.

Ranik May16-07 06:53 AM

Not Quite Fiber-Optic Computing but close....,00.htm

Holographic Hard Drives.....

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