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ADVA Optical Networking Takes a Place in DIMENSION Project

June 14, 2016

The Directly Modulated Lasers on Silicon (DIMENSION) project is poised to be a fairly big one, bringing together a wide array of partners from both research and industry fields alike to work together to yield a common platform of “single-chip electro-optical integration.” Recently, DIMENSION added a new member to its roster in ADVA Optical Networking, a company that may offer that last key step to make DIMENSION's aspirations come to life.

Reports suggest that, once DIMENSION's work is complete, the end result will be silicon photonics chips containing lasers built with active III-V materials that will ultimately be used to make the next generation's data centers. DIMENSION is a four-year project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 program, geared toward driving research and innovation in scientific fields.

ADVA Optical Networking has already been working to improve data center operations, bringing out things like the FSP 3000 CloudConnect tool as a means to improve data center interconnection (DCI). ADVA's own advanced technology director Michael Eiselt notes that the incoming demand for data centers, as exemplified by things like cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), will make tools like ADVA's, and those generated by DIMENSION, all the more vital to making sure the data center runs as best it's able.

This is a point assented by IBM Research's manager of photonics in Zurich, Bert Offrein. Offrein commented “What we`re bringing to the table is a lot of experience with transformational data center innovation. We`re focusing on incorporating highly efficient III-V materials into silicon chips. Our role is to design and produce the integrated active optical components. This technology will bring the optics to where the data is generated and that leads to improvements in every part of the data center. By enhancing interconnections at different reaches, from centimeters up to kilometers, we`ll be able to reduce size, cost and power on links between boards, computers and facilities.”

Offrein has the right of it here; we've never seen a society so dependent on processor power and networking capability, and our demand for it only increases. We've got a workforce increasingly turning to cloud-based systems, our shopping depends on pulling online reviews of products and the ability to rapidly contact a brand online, our play uses connected networks and streaming video. All of these combine to put a huge new demand on data centers, and it's tools like these that will help keep the data center running and providing value well into the future.

The DIMENSION project will likely take some time to yield fruit, and that fruit will take longer still to get into operation, but the good news here is that we'll have uses waiting for it when it arrives. Thanks to groups like IBM and ADVA Optical Networking, the processors to drive such uses will be up to the task.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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