As computers’ processing speeds grow ever faster, they are approaching the limits of their electronic components. More speed requires additional power and smaller, denser chips, but miniaturization inhibits heat dissipation. Fiber-optic cables already transmit information encoded in light faster and more reliably than electrical cables can carry electronic signals. If computers also processed information as light instead of electronically, they could boost computational speed and mitigate the excess heat generation that besets electronic circuits as they become faster and smaller.
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