Ayar Labs debuts 4 Tbps optically-enabled Intel FPGA

Created November 15, 2023
Technologies and Products

Ayar Labs, a leader in silicon photonics for chip-to-chip connectivity, has debuted its in-package optical I/O solution integrated with Intel’s industry-leading Agilex® Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology at Supercomputing 2023. The company says in demonstrating 5x current industry bandwidth at 5x lower power and 20x lower latency, the optical FPGA – packaged in a common PCIe card form factor – has the potential to transform the high-performance computing (HPC) landscape for data-intensive workloads such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and supports novel new disaggregated compute and memory architectures and more.

The optical FPGA consists of two TeraPHY™ optical I/O chiplets that are each capable of 4 Tbps bi-directional bandwidth, connected to a 10 nm FPGA fabric die, the core fabric used in Intel’s Agilex FPGAs. The optical communication is powered by two SuperNova™ light sources, supporting 64 optical channels of high-speed, error-free communication across eight fibres on each chiplet. This configuration is capable of delivering 5x the bandwidth at a fraction of the power (<5pJ/b) and latency (5ns per chiplet + TOF) required by current industry solutions, all critical factors for the future of high-performance compute fabrics and next generation disaggregated architectures.

“We’re on the cusp of a new era in high performance computing as optical I/O becomes a ‘must have’ building block for meeting the exponentially growing, data-intensive demands of emerging technologies like generative AI,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “Showcasing the integration of Ayar Labs’ silicon photonics and Intel’s cutting-edge FPGA technology at Supercomputing is a concrete demonstration that optical I/O has the maturity and manufacturability needed to meet these critical demands.”

“At Intel, we pursue relentless innovation with our FPGA portfolio. With Ayar Labs’ in-package optics coupled with our FPGA fabric die, we created I/O bandwidth over 4 Tbps — far greater than what is currently possible with electrical connections,” said Venkat Yadavalli, Intel Corporation’s VP and GM, Product Excellence Group. “We’re looking well beyond 400G Ethernet with this capability. Optical interfaces like these have the potential to unlock huge advancements in high performance computing, AI, data centres, sensing, communications, edge, and more. Imagine what you could do with an optical interface FPGA communicating at over 4 Terabits per second.”

For more information, visit https://ayarlabs.com

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.