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Photonic cores to be ubiquitous in ML by 2030

Cross-posted on Metaculus.

From an article reporting on new developments in photonic tensor cores,

A paper in the journal Applied Physics Reviews, by AIP Publishing, proposes a new approach to perform computations required by a neural network, using light instead of electricity. In this approach, a photonic tensor core performs multiplications of matrices in parallel, improving speed and efficiency of current deep learning paradigms.

In machine learning, neural networks are trained to learn to perform unsupervised decision and classification on unseen data. Once a neural network is trained on data, it can produce an inference to recognize and classify objects and patterns and find a signature within the data.

The photonic TPU stores and processes data in parallel, featuring an electro-optical interconnect, which allows the optical memory to be efficiently read and written and the photonic TPU to interface with other architectures.

The abstract from the paper reads,

While several photonic neural network designs have been explored, a photonic tensor core to perform tensor operations is yet to be implemented. In this manuscript, we introduce an integrated photonics-based tensor core unit by strategically utilizing (i) photonic parallelism via wavelength division multiplexing, (ii) high 2 peta-operations-per-second throughputs enabled by tens of picosecond-short delays from optoelectronics and compact photonic integrated circuitry, and (iii) near-zero static power-consuming novel photonic multi-state memories based on phase-change materials featuring vanishing losses in the amorphous state. Combining these physical synergies of material, function, and system, we show, supported by numerical simulations, that the performance of this 4-bit photonic tensor core unit can be 1 order of magnitude higher for electrical data. The full potential of this photonic tensor processor is delivered for optical data being processed, where we find a 2–3 orders higher performance (operations per joule), as compared to an electrical tensor core unit, while featuring similar chip areas.

Photonic tensor cores are said to be "ubiquitous" in machine learning by 2030 if all three of the top machine learning cloud computing services offer photonic tensor cores for training models. The top machine learning cloud computing services are taken to the top three services that are yielded by the DuckDuckGo search, "machine learning cloud computing service" (If DuckDuckGo is no longer available, the following take their place in order of priority: Google, Bing).

This question resolves positively if photonic tensor cores are ubiquitous in machine learning by 2030, and negatively otherwise.


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