Lenslet: Optical DSPs are in your future

So you thought digital processors were fast? Here’s a development offering typically 1,000X faster operation. Lenslet Ltd., an Israeli company, has introduced what it calls the "world's first commercially available optical digital signal processor (ODSP).


Lenslet's EnLight256 optical processor combines in a standard electronic board format, optics, silicon, and communication interfaces—along with development tools.

So you thought digital processors were fast? Here’s a development offering typically 1,000X faster operation.

Lenslet Ltd ., an Israeli company, has introduced what it calls the "world's first commercially available optical digital signal processor (ODSP)". EnLight256—first member in the product line—reportedly boosts standard DSP performance by three orders of magnitude. It carries a specification of up to 8-Tera (1012) multiply-accumulate (MAC) operations per second. That’s 8,000 Giga MAC ops/s!

EnLight256 is a general-purpose, fixed-point ODSP with an embedded optical core. The device consists of three elements:

  • Vector Matrix Multiplier (VMM) that performs the noted ultra-fast vector-matrix operations;

  • Vector Processor Unit (VPU) that handles 128 Giga operations per second; and

  • Industry standard DSP (TI TMS320C64xx) for control and scalar processing.

Software for EnLight256 is developed using three main tools: Matlab APL bit exact simulator, APL Studio bit exact and cycle exact simulator, and APL Studio Emulator. These tools ensure a smooth development path starting from the floating-point algorithm to running and debugging code.

According to Lenslet, EnLight256 targets computationally intense applications such as video compression, video encoders, security (baggage scanning and multi-sensor threat analysis), and defense and communication systems. It can be applied either as a system-embedded accelerator or a standalone processor. EnLight256 was demonstrated at the MILCOM exhibition in Boston, MA, in mid-October 2003.

Potential benefits of the optical processor include enhanced communications in noisy channels, multi-channel interference cancellation, and replacement of existing multi-DSP boards. EnLight256 will be highly cost competitive with multi-DSP boards, says a company spokesperson. Consult Lenslet for pricing.

Lenslet, founded in 1999 with the vision to make this technology a commercial reality, looks ahead to where optical processing engines will be part of your future.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, fbartos@reedbusiness.com

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