Consider a device the size of a grain of salt that can process information a billion times faster than the human brain. Inspired by animal nervous systems, the “photonic neuron” uses light instead of electrochemical impulses to process information at lightning-quick speeds.
And in the lab of electrical engineering professor Paul Prucnal, it’s becoming a reality. “It’s a way of encoding more information and processing it more quickly,” Prucnal said.
Alex Tait ’12, one of the lab’s summer interns, has contributed a device that acts as the decision-making part of the neuron. It’s called the double ring enhanced asymmetric Mach-Zehnder interferometer. (Thankfully, it makes an easy acronym: They call it the DREAM device.)
But more on that later. Before there was a DREAM, there were meetings — and the occasional free pizza.
Read more at the Princeton Alumni Weekly.