Photonics Company Lightmatter Names Google TPU Engineer Richard Ho VP of Hardware Engineering

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BOSTON — Photonics company Lightmatter has named Richard Ho its new Vice President of Hardware Engineering. Ho spent nearly nine years at Google leading the Cloud Tensor Processing Units (TPU) project.
At Lightmatter, Ho will spearhead Lightmatter’s chip engineering division with focus on developing and deploying Lightmatter’s photonic AI accelerator and wafer-scale interconnect, designed for faster and cleaner computing solutions at scale, according to the company.
Ho was one of the earliest engineers on the Google Cloud TPU project, most recently serving as the senior director of engineering. “He was able to bring the Google TPU from concept to reality – using revolutionary silicon breakthroughs to power advanced machine learning applications, fueling top consumer applications such as Google Translate, Gmail, and Assistant,” Lightmatter said in its announcement.

Lightmatter said its vision is to bring photonic computing out of the lab and into data centers this year, with faster, cooler and more energy efficient computing and interconnect solutions. The company’s photonic AI accelerator product line, Envise, and programmable photonic interconnect product, Passage, are designed to address challenges related to performance scaling and energy efficiency in next-generation accelerated compute systems. Ho’s expertise bringing revolutionary technology to market will be critical as Lightmatter approaches a moment in time where this technology becomes ready for real world applications, the company said.

“In many ways, Richard’s previous work on the Google TPU project inspired our founding team at Lightmatter to build the products we have today and push the industry forward. We’re honored to welcome him to the team,” said Nick Harris, co-founder and CEO of Lightmatter. “With expertise at the intersection of hardware and software, Richard will be a huge asset as we approach historic milestones this year. He’ll be at the helm of executing our chip strategy, helping us expand the footprint of photonic computing globally.”

Lightmatter recently announced other high-profile hires, appointing Ritesh Jain as the new VP of Engineering, Systems and Packaging, formerly Intel; Jessie Zhang as VP of Finance, formerly Apple; and Steve Klinger as VP of Product, formerly Innovium.

“Advances in AI and machine learning will slow down unless we develop new solutions that can be deployed at scale. The products Lightmatter is developing are ground breaking,” said Ho. “I’m excited to be a part of the company that’s completely changing the way the industry is approaching power constraints, and am incredibly impressed with the results the team has already produced.”