Making AI algorithms crazy fast using chips powered by light

MIT Technology Review

Making AI algorithms crazy fast using chips powered by light

Optical chips have been tried before—but the rise of deep learning may offer an opportunity to succeed where others have failed.

By Will Knight

Inside a small laboratory in Boston’s seaport district, buried within a jumble of lasers, lenses, mirrors, and a tangle of wiring, is a tiny chip that might be about to have a big impact on the world of artificial intelligence.

The lab belongs to Lightelligence, a startup that’s developing a radically new kind of AI accelerator chip. Instead of using electrons to carry out the core mathematical computations needed for machine learning, the company’s prototype device uses light.

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