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OSA Optical Computing Incubator: Day 2

Shuai Sun

To begin with, Dr. Zeb Barber, from Montana State University – Spectrum Lab, gave a talk about high bandwidth Spatial-Spectral Holographic (SSH) Processing for selection and filtering. The SSH technology is based on cryogenic rare earth spectral hole-burning materials and has long promised high bandwidth and high time-bandwidth signal processing capabilities.  After that, Dr. Jason Pelc, from Hewlett-Packard Labs, talked about his company’s Meso Program, which is exploring how to perform coherent computing with integrated photonics.  Their approach is to figure out how coherence, where optical signals are one example, can enable novel ways to compute.
Dr. David Rosenbluth, from Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Labs, presented research results in Neuromorphic Photonics.  In his talk, he explained the advantages of the spiking model of computation for exploiting the high bandwidth of photonics for processing and how that can apply to several applications.  Last but not the least, Dr. Volker Sorger, from George Washington University, gave a talk on optical switching.  He first proposed that a fundamental physics scaling law can be applied to the Figure-of-Merit = (Datarate)/(Power × Area × Cost), and then derived the physical energy consumption lower bound ofHe optoelectronic devices to be 0.1 aJ/bit. Then he discussed some of his recent work on Electrooptic switches, plasmon nanolasers, and tunnel junctions. Lastly, Dr. Sorger showed a roadmap for optical information processing and a hybrid interconnect they recently proposed called HyPPI.  At the end of the session, Dr. Neifeld summarized the discussion, which finished the first day of the Optical Computing Incubator.
Day 2
The second day of the Optical Computing Incubator began with breakout discussion sections.  All attendees were separated into two groups given different topics in the field of optical computing.  One discussion was on the topic of metaphoric computing and was hosted by Dr. Hari Krovi.  The other group was led by Dr. David Miller and had algorithmic optical computing as the topic. Dr. Mark Neifeld also presented a summary of the ONR Optical Computing MURI. He talked about optical methods for accelerating inference on graphic models and computation, the new computing paradigm, applications and some preliminary results.
Dirac and Weyl Plasma
After the break-out discussions, the program ended with a summary from Dr. Miller and Dr. Krovi of the results from the two breakout discussion sections.
In the metaphoric optical computing discussion section, Dr. Krovi had the group explore approaches to metaphoric optical computing and discussed various techniques and technologies, including plasma simulations, continuous and combinatorial optimization, signal and image processing, neuromorphic approachs, as well as the problems they can solve and their limits in current practice. Then attendees talked about what is new in the approach, obstacles, timelines, and intermediate goals. 
In the algorithmic optical computing section, Dr. Miller and the participants brainstormed about many topics and current issues concerning general technologies, their applications, challenges, technical opportunities and key open questions both now and in the future.
Working with OSA and under the hosts direction the participants look forward to continuing the dialog on the solutions to the challenges discussed throughout the program.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing what OSA Incubator topics are coming in 2016!
Image for keeping the session alive