Optalysys applies its groundbreaking optical co-processing technology to next generation weather forecasting algorithms

YORKSHIRE, U.K. - 26th OCTOBER, 2018 -Optalysys Ltd. (@Optalysys), an innovative technology company developing light-speed optical AI systems announced the successful completion of the next generation weather forecasting project led by ECMWF. 

Optalysys was part of a major European consortium led by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and involving 10 other organisations. The project, known as ESCAPE (Energy-efficient Scalable Algorithms for Weather Prediction at Exascale) aimed to prepare numerical weather prediction algorithms and climate models for new computing architectures leading to exascale computing with a focus on energy efficiency.  

The project successfully achieved breakthrough advances in computing efficiency by developing the concept of “weather and climate dwarfs”.  These dwarfs are functional units in the weather forecasting models which are optimised for processor memory access and data communication.  

CEO Dr Nick New said “It has been a privilege to work on such an important and ground-breaking project. Our work has demonstrated that some of the most computationally intensive dwarfs may be mapped on to our optical processors to provide significant advantages over conventional silicon technology or GPUs for these tasks”.

The three year project which started in 2015 was awarded a €4m grant under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. 


Optalysys is developing Optical Computing Platforms, which enable a quantum leap into new levels of processing capability. Delivered at a fraction of the cost with a vastly reduced energy consumption compared with conventional computers. Its first coprocessor is based on an established diffractive optical approach that uses the photons of low-power laser light instead of conventional electricity and its electrons. This inherently parallel technology is highly scalable and is the new paradigm of computing.