Ayar Labs, an optical processor specialist, collaborates with HPE to develop optical processor technology for supercomputers. The organizations promise joint technology that furthers supercomputer efficiency and performance.

According to both tech companies, the collaboration paves the way for more efficient supercomputer processors. A joint, new set of system architectures should remove the barriers of traditional interconnects. Ultimately, the latter improves the scalability and performance of high-performance computing.

The benefits of optical processing

Ayar Labs specializes in developing optical processor technology. In traditional supercomputer environments, HPC server processors depend on electrical signals to exchange data and calculate. Optical processor technology allows HPC processors to function on light signals. Energy consumption is much lower.

Ayar Labs’ technology is packaged in a proprietary, compact processor: the TeraPHY. This chip itself can be integrated into other processors or CPUs. A single TeraPHY processor can process up to 2 TB of data per second. Light signals are generated by lasers that Ayar Labs produces as well.

Integration into HPE Slingshot

The collaboration of HPE and Ayar Labs consists of integrating light-based processor technology into HPE Slingshot technology. The latter is used to transport data between different components within supercomputer environments.

Furthermore, the partners will continue to research the use of optical technology for supercomputing. A dedicated ecosystem of suppliers will be established. The latter is key, because supercomputer environments often consist of solutions and applications from multiple suppliers. The more vendors embrace optical technology, the better — and more profitable — the product becomes.

Finally, HPE announced that it has invested in Ayar Labs through HPE Pathfinder, its private investment company. Financial details weren’t disclosed.