This groundbreaking achievement proves for the first time that optical processing technology can accurately perform calculations that are commonly used in large scale model simulations in a lens-less, reconfigurable and rugged manner. Examples include weather forecasting and vehicle aerodynamics. The same device can also perform Big Data analysis as used in genomics and financial analysis. The design also demonstrates how the technology can be scaled using our modular approach.
In an optical domain these functions can be calculated in parallel and at the speed of light thereby not only significantly reducing processing time but also negating the need to periodically store data and analyse it offline.
Numerical data is entered into the prototype as an image on a special micro-display called a Spatial Light Modulator (SLM). A low power laser transports the data through the optical system through a series of further SLMs which apply various mathematical functions to the data and the result is captured on a camera.
The prototype achieves a processing speed equivalent to 320 Gflops and it is incredibly energy efficient as it uses low-powered, cost effective components.
This advances Optalysys’s technology to Technology Readiness Level 4 on NASA’s scale for measuring the maturity of a technology product – a functioning prototype.
Now the principles of the approach have been proven, Optalysys is focusing on ramping-up the processing capabilities of the technology and is working with select partners to implement the technology in real-world applications.