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China key for optical computing

By  : INDICS Operator Updated  :   2018-09-04 08:49:39

Source: China Daily

China will become one of the largest markets for optical computing technology due to its rapid adoption of artificial intelligence in everyday life, thereby creating huge opportunities for foreign companies, according to a top industry player.

"China is a crucial part of our future," said Nick New, founder and CEO of Optalysys Ltd, the world's first startup dedicated to optical computing, in an interview with China Daily.

"Not only does it provide us with the largest market opportunity, but also offers the volume manufacturing base that will allow us to produce powerful processors with a low cost base," he said.

The Yorkshire, United Kingdom-headquartered company is in active discussions with major technology corporations and investors in China to form partnerships. It aims to see its technology manufactured and rapidly developed in the country within the next year and a half.

According to New, UK companies are looking to beef up their presence in wider markets, including China, amid the country's exit from the European Union and China-United States trade tensions.

"China has a rich pedigree of bringing innovations to the world. It has also established itself as the global manufacturing center, with an in-built ambition to be the world leader in many technological breakthroughs," said New.

"Although the surge in adoption of AI in China has been a revolution in recent years, it's only the beginning. In order to reach its full potential, there needs to be major innovations in the processing technology currently used," said New.

Optalysys, founded in 2013, is developing optical computing technology to enable processes to be performed at the speed of light, which will increase speed and lower energy use.

In China right now, companies mainly choose to complete calculations through electronic processing. As more and more data is used, they are facing the challenges of achieving high-performance computing and sky-rocketing energy consumption.

According to New, the company's cutting-edge technology can be applied in sectors that require high-speed processing of large amounts of data, including autonomous driving, medical image analysis and security systems.

"Adopting emerging technologies such as optical AI is key to a company's survival in the global marketplace," said New.

He said there has been a recent surge in the development of optical processing in China, with major tech firms investing heavily in both startups and in their own internal development.

Baidu Inc, for instance, has recently invested in a US-based company developing an integrated photonics chip, which focuses on different AI models and applications to Optalysys.

"However, in China, investment in optical AI computing is in its infancy and the country still needs to adopt this technology in earnest to truly become the future leader in AI," he said.

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