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OSA Optical Computing Incubator

9-11 December 2015

Hosted By

Ravi Athale, Office of Naval Research, United States
Demetri Psaltis, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Mark Neifeld, University of Arizona, United States

Program Overview

Optical Computing has been a very active research topic over past 60 years with many ups and downs. It has fallen largely dormant over past 20 years. There has been recent interest in light of new technology and physics of nanophotonics. The goal of this Incubator will be to bring together experts in diverse fields of study including theoretical computer science, mathematics and in optical physics/devices from industry, academia and the government to explore the current status and future prospects of this re-emerging field.

Incubator Scope and Featured Topics

This incubator will be a highly interdisciplinary meeting that will emphasize participation from all attendees. The program may include invited talks and panels as well as moderated group discussions to achieve the Incubators goals. In the past in optical computing/information processing had been successful in exploiting coherent optical Fourier processing systems for synthetic aperture radar image reconstruction and time domain acousto-optic processors for wideband signal processing. On the other hand attempts at building digital optical computing systems and optical linear algebra processors have largely failed.
This incubator will touch upon lessons learned from these past research efforts and will be focused on exploring future directions and addressing the following questions:

  1. What are the problem areas where traditional digital computing approaches are failing and are not likely to succeed even with projected advances in digital device technologies?
  2. What are the characteristics of the problems that cause this?
  3. Is it possible to develop an alternate formulation of problem which will make it amenable to optical implementations?
  4. What advances (if any) in optical materials and device technologies are needed for practical implementation of the alternate formulation of challenging problems? 



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