BEIJING, April 24 — Researchers at Beijing’s Tsinghua University have developed a high-performance chip for complex artificial intelligence processing, powered by light rather than electricity. Called Taichi, this photonic AI chip is also particularly energy-efficient.

With its unique architecture, this chip has a computing capacity of several million neurons. It has been specially designed to handle complex tasks. Here, the photon replaces the electron, and light replaces electricity. Its optical components are capable of processing extremely complex operations faster, such as those required by machine learning. Data transfer by light is faster and up to 1,000 times more energy efficient than a traditional electronic chip.

The Taichi chip represents a major innovation in the field of artificial intelligence and photonic computing. This technology exploits the properties of light to enable very high-speed calculations, paving the way for a whole new generation of dedicated chips for applications in generative artificial intelligence, research, robotics and even the management of more complex systems linked to the so-called smart cities of the future.

In any case, this project illustrates the advance of photonics technology in the IT sector, offering promising prospects. It will, however, face a number of hurdles before it becomes widely available. This type of chip is still highly complex and expensive to produce. And that’s not to mention the challenge of making the technology compatible with existing IT systems.


This research is detailed in a paper published in the Science journal. — ETX Studio