Thursday, June 16, 2022

MIT develops optically interconnected AI chip

Researchers at MIT have fabricated a stackable, reconfigurable artificial intelligence chip that uses light-emitting diodes (LED) to allow the chip’s multiple layers to communicate optically. The MIT design uses light, rather than physical wires, to transmit information through the chip. 

The design consists of paired photodetectors and LEDs, each patterned with tiny pixels. Photodetectors constitute an image sensor for receiving data, and LEDs to transmit data to the next layer.

“Other chips are physically wired through metal, which makes them hard to rewire and redesign, so you’d need to make a new chip if you wanted to add any new function,” says MIT postdoc Hyunseok Kim. “We replaced that physical wire connection with an optical communication system, which gives us the freedom to stack and add chips the way we want.”

The team’s results are published today in Nature Electronics. In addition to Kim and Kang, MIT authors include co-first authors Chanyeol Choi, Hyunseok Kim, and Min-Kyu Song, and contributing authors Hanwool Yeon, Celesta Chang, Jun Min Suh, Jiho Shin, Kuangye Lu, Bo-In Park, Yeongin Kim, Han Eol Lee, Doyoon Lee, Subeen Pang, Sang-Hoon Bae, Hun S. Kum, and Peng Lin, along with collaborators from Harvard University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, and elsewhere.