Researchers at IBM have achieved what they claim is a new speed record for big data, claiming data transfer speeds of 200Gbps to 400Gbps over optical fibre using a new analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) chip.
IBM presented its new device at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.
While the speeds were only achieved under lab conditions, the underlying technology has already been licensed to semiconductor firm Semtech, which specialises in analogue and mixed-signal chips such as ADCs, including those used in communications.
The technology, which will be used to transfer data between data centres over a fibre optic link, will also make increasingly large media files significantly faster to transfer. IBM said this will benefit applications in big data analytics, which involve large volumes of data. IBM said that 160GB – the equivalent of an ultra-high definition 4K movie or 40,000 digital songs – could be transferred in "only a few seconds".
Dr Martin Schmatz, systems department manager at IBM Research, said of the firm's deal with Semtech: "Our ADC supports IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers] standards for data communication and brings together speed and energy efficiency at 32 nanometers enabling us to start tackling the largest big data applications. With Semtech as our partner, we are bringing our previous generation of the ADC to market less than 12 months since it was first developed and tested."
IBM's design has the additional benefit of consuming very little power while operating. The chip will be capable of performing 128 billion ADC conversions per second with power consumption of just 2.1W.
Full details of the research can be found in the scientific paper: A 90GS/s 8b 667mW 64× Interleaved SAR ADC in 32nm Digital SOI CMOS
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