Ayar Labs, a pioneer in chiplet-based optics, has achieved a breakthrough in high-performance computing (HPC) by integrating Intel’s Agilex FPGA with its advanced optical I/O chiplet technology. This integration purportedly offers a quintuple increase in bandwidth while reducing power consumption and latency by an order of magnitude compared to existing solutions.
Emergence of Optical I/O in High-Performance Computing
In the realm of data-centric technologies, such as generative AI, the demand for higher bandwidth and lower latency is burgeoning. Optical I/O technology emerges as an essential component to meet these growing requirements, marking a paradigm shift in the computing industry.
Optical FPGA Configuration and Capabilities
The cornerstone of this technological innovation is the incorporation of two TeraPHY optical I/O chiplets, each offering a remarkable 4 Tbps bi-directional bandwidth. These chiplets interface with a 10 nm FPGA fabric die, the foundational fabric found in Intel’s Agilex FPGAs.
SuperNova Light Sources Powering Communication
At the core of the optical communication system are two SuperNova light sources. These facilitate 64 optical channels that transmit data across eight fibers per chiplet, ensuring high-speed and error-free communication vital for HPC fabrics and disaggregated architectures.
Performance Metrics: Bandwidth, Power, and Latency
This fusion of optical I/O chiplets with the Agilex FPGA fabric die yields a staggering bandwidth of over 4 Tbps, while maintaining power efficiency (<5pJ/b) and ultra-low latency (5ns per chiplet + time of flight), setting new benchmarks in the industry.
Potential Applications and Future of Computing
Intel’s Vice President, Venkat Yadavalli, highlights the potential for vast advancements in fields such as AI, data centers, sensing, communications, and edge computing through these optical interfaces. This technology is anticipated to extend beyond traditional 400G Ethernet limitations, paving the way for unprecedented computing capabilities.
Chiplet Ecosystem and Co-Packaged Integration
The collaboration showcases the benefits of the burgeoning chiplet ecosystem, amalgamating Ayar Labs’ optical I/O chiplets based on GlobalFoundries’ Fotonix platform with Intel’s FPGA technology and packaging process. This co-packaged integration enhances performance significantly without necessitating alterations to the compute silicon.