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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Informative
Ann R. Thryft   3/28/2013 11:36:42 AM
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Jack, thanks for the answer. Very interesting, since that's quite close to when I heard about it.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Optical interconnects.
William K.   3/27/2013 10:00:29 PM
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It still does not sound like a useful technology, just because of having to convert from and then back to an electrical signal. That takes up both space and power, and then the losses are greater in any sort of optical medium than they are in an equal run of copper, correctly designed and built. Besides that, it certainly seems that the accuracy of alignment needed for these optial interconnects is going to be a bit tighter than for electrcal connections. 

It still looks a whole lot like somebodie's neat solution searching intensely for a suitabl problem. 

OF course, if it does turn out to be a useful idea, then we will see it in industry, someplace. If not, then we won't. But I am NOT going to invest in that company.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Informative
Jack Rupert, PE   3/27/2013 2:43:37 PM
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Ann - That would have been in the early 90's.  I'm thinking it was probably 1991 - no later than 1992.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Optical interconnects.
Ann R. Thryft   3/27/2013 12:26:12 PM
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Mydesign, the whole point of using this new optical technology--which does not rely on bulky fibers--is that communication speeds are far outpacing coax in high-end computing, and will do so relatively soon, at the current speed increases, in computers used by the rest of us.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Informative
Ann R. Thryft   3/27/2013 12:23:42 PM
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Jack, I don't mean to pry, but would you tell us what decade that was, or how many years ago? I'm curious because I first heard of this idea in the mid-late 90s. Did you encounter this idea before or after that?

Mydesign
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Platinum
Re: Optical interconnects.
Mydesign   3/27/2013 12:40:07 AM
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"those very short distances on a backplane the optical connection woul;d be way more bother than it would be worth. For larger distances, several feet or more, it makes some sense, but for board-to-board interconnect I see it as a waste of effort and materials."

Willam, am agreeing with you. For shorter distance coaxial cables are better than optical fiber because attenuation losses are less in shorter distance. Moreover inter connectivity is difficult with fiber optics.

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Informative
Jack Rupert, PE   3/26/2013 3:09:53 PM
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Interesting that this idea is coming back into the forefront.  I remember when I was back in college I prepared a speech on optical computing.  Haven't heard much about it since...

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Optical interconnects.
Ann R. Thryft   3/26/2013 12:05:29 PM
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I think there's some confusion about the nature of optical connections being proposed. The whole point of this new technology is that, if you used optical *fibers*, you need so many at the board-to-board, chip-to-board and chip-to-chip levels that you can't physically get them into such a small space: they don't scale like transistors do. But if you implement them in waveguides--i.e., embed optical connections in thin sheets of silicone via standard semiconductor manufacturing methods for laying down circuits--you can get the size down for placing on, or integrating with, boards. The researchers specifically targeted this smaller, chip-to-board scale first, and are also proposing to extend it to board-to-board connections.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Optical interconnects.
William K.   3/22/2013 3:05:11 PM
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@ mydesign, my point is that for those very short distances on a backplane the optical connection woul;d be way more bother than it would be worth. For larger distances, several feet or more, it makes some sense, but for board-to-board interconnect I see it as a waste of effort and materials.

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Optical interconnects.
Mydesign   3/22/2013 12:02:22 AM
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"It will be very interesting to see the completely new set of problems that will come up if this idea ever is used. New problems to make sure we engineers never run out of problems to solve."

William, that's one of the basic responsibility of an engineer other than R&D. I believes that without problems, there are no roles for engineers.



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