IBM Knows More About Silicon Photonics Than You

Well, I assume they do. They seem to know more about it than anybody. In a breakthrough paper  delivered in the Optics Express journal, IBM has demonstrated their method for greatly improving the  transfer of information between multiple computer chip cores, substituting  optical signals sent through silicon for electrical pulses sent through copper wire.  By greatly shrinking the size of the optical router, or modulator, IBM claims they'll be able to shrink a supercomputer-grade machine down to laptop size.

A major challenge for scientists is finding a way to improve communication between [multiple] cores without increasing power consumption.

The most promising solution is sending information along pulses of light through silicon instead of along electrical signals on copper wires. Using light could be 100 times faster and use 10 times less power.

"It's impossible to approach communication on a chip with traditional electrical wiring. We need to move to a low-power technology," {IBM lead scientist} Green said.

The hypothetical supercomputer in a laptop would use the energy of a single light bulb compared to the hundreds of homes worth of power today's giant computers consume.

It's a proof of concept, so it's probably a decade away. That gives you plenty of time to sell all your copper mining stocks. As always: Faster, please.