We've seen headlines about optical computing for several years, and it seems that it will be many more years before this technology has any mainstream application, but make no mistake about one thing: optical computing holds tremendous promise. Here's why:
CPUs are all about moving data from one place to another while performing simple logic at data intersections (such as not, and, or, nor, nand, and so on). You can accomplish this by moving electrons, as we do in popular CPUs, or you can do the same thing with photons (light).
So, essentially, we're moving
information and performing simple logic
on information. Light has characteristics that allow this to take place very rapidly, without many of the limitations of traditional electron-based CPUs.
For one thing, light travels at, well, the speed of light. That's pretty fast: 186,000 miles per second, give or take. And yet it does this without creating all the heat we presently associate with CPUs powered by electricity.
In fact, heat has become a critical limiting factor in the ongoing effort to shrink circuits in modern CPUs. Clock them any faster, or shrink them any more, and you'll be frying the circuits themselves. You can only pump so much electricity through a silicon wafer before it starts to melt. But you can move as many photons
as you want, without the heat worry.
Still, optical processing is in its infancy. It's cool science, and it's real science unlike a lot of nanotechnology hype, but it's nowhere near being ready for widespread application.
About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he has published numerous courses on preparedness and survival, including financial preparedness, emergency food supplies, urban survival and tactical self-defense. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams co-founded NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and pursues hobbies such as martial arts, Capoeira, nature macrophotography and organic gardening. Known on the 'net as 'the Health Ranger,' Adams shares his ethics, mission statements and personal health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org
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