Intel achieved a monumental feat in integrated photonics technology for high-speed data transmission at OFC 2024. They demonstrated the first fully integrated optical compute interconnect (OCI) chiplet co-packaged with an Intel CPU, marking a pivotal advancement in high-bandwidth interconnect technology. This groundbreaking achievement addresses the increasing demands of AI infrastructure and data centers, providing seamless integration of co-packaged silicon photonics interconnect solutions into next-generation compute systems.

The OCI chiplet is designed to support 64 channels of high-speed data transmission in both directions, addressing the growing need for higher bandwidth, lower power consumption, and longer reach in AI infrastructure.

AI-based applications are driving exponential growth in data transmission, and ML workload acceleration requires increased I/O bandwidth and reach, making the OCI chiplet a significant advancement in this field. It replaces electrical I/O with optical I/O in CPUs and GPUs, delivering enhanced performance and energy efficiency, akin to upgrading from using horse carriages to using cars and trucks for delivering goods over longer distances.

The OCI chiplet leverages Intel's silicon photonics technology, integrating critical components for advanced performance. It supports up to 4 Tbps bidirectional data transfer and is compatible with PCIe Gen5, meeting the demands of high-speed data transmission and addressing AI's unsustainable power requirements.

Intel's competitive advantage lies in its unparalleled integration using hybrid laser-on-wafer technology, influencing higher reliability and lower costs, cementing its position as a market leader in silicon photonics. The company is also working on the next generation of PICs to support emerging 800 Gbps and 1.6 Tbps applications.

Intel's OCI chiplet is a pioneering solution in the high-speed data transmission landscape, marking a significant stride in shaping the future of connectivity for AI infrastructure and data centers