In a few years, the Internet could collapse. There is growing so fast that it seems all power plants in the world can not provide enough power to meet the energy needs of large data centers Google & amp; To satisfy Co. These are not random in rivers or large lakes. You need a lot of cooling water.
Supercomputers have become more powerful in order to cope with the flood of requests and tasks. But with double the computing power of a processor requires more than four times the energy. “In 2023, the Internet is the entire world production of electrical energy devour” predicts Professor Dieter Bimberg of the Technical University of Berlin – the energy consumption of these global machinery is not lowered in time
None. esoteric, but technical progress
Every Google search, each tweet and every activity in a social network solves world of large server farms computing and memory processes energy cost. For a single Google query, it experts have calculated the Freiburg Institute for Applied Ecology, are on average 0.0003 kilowatt hours needed.
This seems to first glance very little and this amount of energy would only be enough to illuminate a saving lamp just one minute. But the dramatically growing number of Internet activity, accelerated by the mobile use of smartphones, increases the energy needs of the data center.
The solution of this digital energy problem can only bring Age of Light. This has nothing to do with mysticism, but with technical innovations that make up the diverse physical properties of light to use. Light-based technologies are a key to progress.
Even Satellite communications by laser light
Today, light plays in numerous technologies crucial role. Without the speed of light transmitting data via a worldwide network of fiber optic cables, the power of the Internet today would not be possible. Even orbiting satellites communicate with each other recently using laser light.
laser weapons, a long time only a subject for science fiction and War-the-star scenario, now underground practice have reached maturity. First US frigates were already equipped with laser cannons. In particular, the computer and information technology will benefit from the new lighting technologies.
“We need to reduce the energy consumption of computer technology by an average of 18 percent per year, if we want to avoid a crash, “calculates Bimberg and is optimistic that this can be achieved quite: using light. The largest energy needs in a supercomputer does not arise again in the actual computation processes, but in the internal transmission of data.
To process a bit, requires a processor about one-trillionth of Joule says Bimberg: “But when a bit is transmitted from one processor to memory or to another processor, which costs ten times more energy.” It is the shuffling of digital data that costs the most energy. And the number of bits to be transmitted is growing.
data lines with photons
A data transfer via wires is the simplest but energetically unfavorable way. By 2005, nor were electrically wired all computers. But since then, at least the super computers have evolved from electrical to optical equipment. Today, as Bimberg, are in a mainframe up to five million data connections that are forged of laser light.
Now it comes to energy consumption per transmitted data bit further reduce. This requires new technologies and more optical links. In the next generation of supercomputers are already billions internal data lines work with photons instead of electrons.
This can not imagine a confusing jumble of glass you look. The data transfer from chip to chip can be easily done through free space. Tiny semiconductor lasers that have less than a micron in diameter, can be directly integrated into the chips. They send their data light to adjacent chips that capture it with semiconductor sensors.
If the computers of the future expected light?
microchips were made possible by the most important invention of the 20th century: the transistor. Chips and thus transistors are now in virtually every electrical device. Not only in every computer and mobile phone, but also in the washing machine and TV. Everywhere they provide the digital processing of data. Without transistors, there would be no Internet in particular.
Bimberg is convinced that for the foreseeable future transistors will make the computational work. Elsewhere, however, researchers are working on concepts in which the electrical transistor could be replaced by an optical version. That would be energetically more efficient. If the computers of the future so expect light?
On the way to all-optical transistor Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching are now a progressed important step. The team led by Professor Gerhard Rempe managed to control a light pulse with another, smaller one.
This gave a single light particle (photon) to the switching process trigger. The researchers reached an amplification by a factor of 20, which is sufficient for practical applications. The basic functions of a transistor to amplify signals and to switch between two states can thus purely optically realized.
supercomputer work so far very well chilled
However, the optical computer on a remote target, because the light transistors work so far only at extremely low temperatures. The experimental setup of the researchers in Garching requires temperatures near absolute zero point of minus 273 degrees Celsius. This means a high cooling expenses, which is not acceptable for industrial use.
The same problem there is with the so-called quantum computers. In theory, the researchers are completely clear how such supercomputers work and that they also might be the best cryptographic encryptions crack with them. But in the practice they encounter huge challenges. One of which is cooling. All previously in the laboratory-built mini-quantum computers require extremely low operating temperatures.
On optically working quantum computer we must still wait for some time. However, the use of quantum cryptography can be transferred eavesdropping on the data via light has almost reached its maturity.
Tap-proof light from La Palma to Tenerife
According to physicist Anton Zeilinger, director of the Vienna Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, succeeded in 2012, entangled light over a distance of 143 kilometers eavesdropping on the Canary Island of La Palma to transfer to the neighboring island of Tenerife.
With this technology could be a secure Internet arise in which the information to be provided information is first passed to a satellite into orbit and there from satellite to satellite so until a light beam sends the data to the receiver on the ground.
technically feasible is it. This is also the European Radar Satellite Sentinel-1A, of the 2014 was started. His data transfer via laser light to a geostationary communications satellites and will only be sparked from there by the traditional method to a ground station. The advantage is that the satellite must not wait until he is again close to a ground station, but can almost always provide measurement data – that is, in real-time
data in the reading lamp – thanks to LEDs. ” / h2>
Tap-proof quantum Internet is still in the future with optical data from space. But even today, there are LEDs, quasi piggyback data bits are transmitted with their light. You can – like WLAN – enable the communication of mobile terminals to a central server. Ideally, this technique would be about for Internet use in a passenger aircraft. The data were individually as it flows from the reading lamp.
Among the most intriguing research successes in recent years include experiments in which the speed of light could be greatly slowed , That would not even well kept Einstein possible.
The temporary slowing of light for the development of optical computers is an important aspect. So let in the light of data stored quasi between store and use for later following arithmetic operations.
A hundred years after Einstein’s theory of relativity
light can light cross undisturbed, it can be polarized, its oscillation axis can rotate, it can be slowed down and entangled quantum mechanically. These are just some of the special properties of light that is good for much more than just for lighting. Now confirmed – – prediction of general relativity by Albert Einstein in 1915 published -. That it is deflected by matter, one is exactly 100 years
This appears to have played a role in the United Nations decision to nominate just 2015 as the International Year of the light. At the opening ceremony in Paris played Grammy winner Joshua Bell on violin music from the documentary “Einstein’s light,” which was produced by Nickolas Barris. But those interested will have to wait. The light of this film will reach the screens until the fall.