Justifications for a hybrid approach to optical computing

Sing H. Lee, Sadik C. Esener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A hybrid approach to optical computing is currently studied at the University of California, San Diego for performing parallel processing. Figure 1 shows a promising parallel processing architecture, in which an optical processing array is connected massively in parallel to an optical memory array. An optical processing array consists of an array of electronic logic gates; each cell in the array has at least one photodetector (or phototransistor) and one modulator for optical input/output. Similarly, an optical memory array consists of an array of electronic memory circuits; each cell in the array has also optical input/output. Within the optical processing array or the optical memory array, local interconnections among neighboring cells can be established electronically. Between the optical processing array and the optical memory array, global interconnections among distant cells can be established optically using the optical input/output in each cell. One important application of such a massively interconnected architecture would be to perform matrix-tensor multiplications (Ref. 1) not only for numeric computing, but also for artificial intelligence and neural computing (Ref. 2). There are three unique aspects associated with the parallel architecture of Figure 1, which may serve to justify this hybrid approach toward optical computing: optical interconnection, 3-D computational topology and optical memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-178
Number of pages2
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - May 3 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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