Silicon computer chips are about to become obsolete. Moore's law of doubling has reached a plateau where processing speed improvements have reduced. That's why UK technology company Optalysys has come up with a far better alternative.

Optical computers will be faster than super computers, smaller, use less power and be far more efficient. It will be like having a supercomputer at home.

The top-end of these computers will run at 17.1 exoflops and use about $3,500 a year in power while outperforming 34 petaflop supercomputers that cost $21 million a year to run.

Optical computers use light instead of electricity meaning they can work at light-speeds. Internal wiring is replaced with optical waveguides while an optical transistor controls photons. The result is a computer that can work at exoscale supercomputing power but at the size of a current desktop machine, with a normal power supply.

Optalysys says it will be showing off a working machine in January 2015 and aims to have exoscale supercomputers on everyone's desks by 2020.

Check out the video explanation of the science involved.

The explanation basically says a laser is fired through a pixel grid which is able to manipulate the output resulting in a final figure. Since it all works right away that means current issues with data management won't be a problem, hence being faster, working at a greater scale and using less power than current supercomputers.

Expect to see the Optalysys optical computer, running at 340 gigaflops, on show January 2015 and a 17.1 exaflop machine by 2020.

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