General view of Bit-Serial Optical Computer, BSOC

General view of Bit-Serial Optical Computer, BSOC

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This image is part of the feature The Optical Computer

Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Optical computer. General view of the Bit-Serial Optical Computer (BSOC), the first optical computer that stores and manipulates data and instructions as pulses of light. To enable this, the designers developed 'bit-serial' architecture. Each binary digit is represented by a pulse of infra-red laser light 4 metres long. The pulses circulate sequentially through a tightly-wound 4 kilometer loop of optical fibre some 50,000 times per second. Other laser beams operate lithium niobate optical switches which perform the data processing. This computer was developed by Harry Jordan and Vincent Heuring at the University of Colorado, and was unveiled on 12 January 1993.

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Keywords: bit-serial optical computer, bsoc, computer, first, harry's computer, heuring, jordan, optical, optical computer, optoelectronics, vincent's computer

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