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Optical Computing

  1. Sep 4, 2003 #1

    Claude Bile

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    Does anyone know any good websites/resources etc to do with optical computing? I have found some good websites and papers, but the more the better. Some technical information is preferred but anything to do with optical computing I would find useful.

    Some topics in particular I am looking for:-
    All Optical Logic
    Optical Memory (Solitons in particular)
    Optical switching
    Parallel processing / Multiplexing
    Photonic Crystals and Integrated Optics

    Also, I am looking for a good website, or even somebody with a good knowledge of computer hardware to outline the basic components of an electronic computer and the function of each component.

    Thankyou to anyone who responds to this post in advance, Claude.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2003 #2
    I'm no expert in Optical Computing and I don't know any good websites for it off of the top of my head, a good place to learn about hardware is http://www.tomshardware.com/ , here is some basics of electronic computer hardware though:

    CPU (Central Processing Unit) - This is where everything happens, data enters the CPU, which is a small chip about the size of a postage stamp and maybe 4 times as thick, which contains millions of circuits, logical switches transfer one set of information into another set. The personal CPU's work at 32 bits, which means 32 1's and 0's can be inputed into the CPU at a time. The number of Megahertz of a computer tells you how many times 1's and 0's can go into and out of the processor every second.

    RAM (Random Access Memory) - The RAM is the second most critical part of the OS, the RAM stores the data which the processor needs and then stores the processors output of the data. For instance, the processor requests a set of 32 bits from the RAM, it processes it, and sends back the resulting 32 bits of data, which are stored in the RAM until they are needed again. RAM is great because it has a very high bandwidth, sometimes today reaching 3.2 GB / sec. But it is volitile, unlike the Hard Drive, meaning when the power turns off, you lose everything on it.

    Motherboard - The motherboard is basically the interstate over which all of the information transfers, it controls how the different hardware devices connect to eachother, and also serves as the highway for the connection, by that I mean that the RAM does not plug into the CPU, the RAM plugs into the Motherboard and the CPU plugs into the motherboard, and the information transfers through the Motherboard to and from the different hardware components. The Motherboard also has the BIOS chip on it, which controls how the hardware functions on the most basic level, it also has many special chips, such as the system clock, and PCI sockets and video sockets etc. on it.

    Video Card - The Video Card, as the name suggests, interfaces between the CPU and the monitor, basically the CPU can send the data to the Video Card in a bit by bit sense (through the RAM of course) and the video card can transfer the data into a system of dots on a screen that a monitor can understand and present to you.

    Note: Combined, these are the four basic parts of a computer which are absolutely necessary, you can turn a computer on and boot into the BIOS with only these four components on the computer, obviously to have an operating system or anything functional, other components are needed.

    Hard Drive - The hard drive is the storage facility for everything on your computer, the data for your homework assignment that you did last week and that mp3 you have are all on there when you are not using them. The hard drive is magnetically written to via a magnet which changes the orientation of the metallic elments in a disk, the magnet can then run over the disk again in read mode and pick up the vibrations from the different orientations in the "pits" or areas of the disk. The Hard Drive is convieniently non-volitile, so when there is another blackout, you will still have that paper you were working on afterword.

    CD-ROM Drive - I'm sure these recent components you understand pretty well, the CD ROM works like a Hard Drive, except that the pits are read and written to by a laser.

    Power Supply - Yeah, it delivers power to the computer, without it, actually, I guess its another one of those things you need for the computer to work, but if you didn't assume that, well, good luck understanding the rest. The Power supply decreases the voltage of your AC Outlet to the different volts a computer uses + or - 12, and 5 volts. Also, all power is distributed to the hardware components through the Motherboard.

    There are also some not always existing and not so important parts, such as the ethernet cards and such. They usually translate the computer info from the ram into a usable for for there device, etc.
  4. Sep 5, 2003 #3

    Claude Bile

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    Science Advisor

    Thankyou for your comprehensive reply, Lyuokdea, it was just what I was looking for,

  5. Sep 14, 2011 #4
    Hi there Claude, I'm currently writing a news article on optical computing a piece of A2 level coursework and was wondering if you could give me a basic idea of what to include at this level, and some relative articles and papers. I have found some good resources, but as you said, the more the better! Thanks Rthornz
  6. Sep 14, 2011 #5


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    Amazingly, Claude is still somewhat active on PF, eight years after this thread originally died out. I haven't seen him around here for about a week or so, though, so you might have to wait a while for a response from him.
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