Is Light-speed Computing Only Months Away?

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optalysys-logoIn this video, Professor Heinz Wolff explains the Optalysys Optical Processor. A Cambridge UK based startup, Optalysys announced today that the company is only months away from launching a prototype optical processor with “the potential to deliver Exascale levels of processing power on a standard-sized desktop computer.”

The company plans to demonstrate its prototype, which meets NASA Technology Readiness Level 4, in January of next year. Though it’s only at proof-of-concept stage, the processor is expected to run at over 340 gigaFLOPS – enabling it to analyze large data sets, and produce complex model simulations, in a laboratory environment.

Optalysys’ technology applies the principles of diffractive and Fourier optics to calculate the same processor intensive mathematical functions used in CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and pattern recognition,” said Founder and CEO Dr Nick New. “Using low power lasers and high resolution liquid crystal micro-displays, calculations are performed in parallel at the speed of light.”


Nick continues, “We are currently developing two products, a ‘Big Data’ analysis system and an Optical Solver Supercomputer, both of which are expected to be launched in 2017. The analysis unit is designed to work alongside existing supercomputers to provide advanced data analysis capability. Its initial specification will be 1.32 petaFLOPs, increasing to more than 300 petaFLOPs by 2020.

The Optalysys Optical Solver Supercomputer will initially operate at a speed in excess of 9 petaFLOPs, increasing to 17.1 ExaFLOPs by 2020.”


  1. Sharan Kalwani says

    This is on paper or potentially a game changer, but we will have to wait and see if it all pans out.

  2. Combine the optical computer architecture with the following lcd tech for even higher calculation speeds: