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  1. Abstract

    The expansion of telecommunications incurs increasingly severe crosstalk and interference, and a physical layer cognitive method, called blind source separation (BSS), can effectively address these issues. BSS requires minimal prior knowledge to recover signals from their mixtures, agnostic to the carrier frequency, signal format, and channel conditions. However, previous electronic implementations did not fulfil this versatility due to the inherently narrow bandwidth of radio-frequency (RF) components, the high energy consumption of digital signal processors (DSP), and their shared weaknesses of low scalability. Here, we report a photonic BSS approach that inherits the advantages of optical devices and fully fulfils its “blindness” aspect. Using a microring weight bank integrated on a photonic chip, we demonstrate energy-efficient, wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) scalable BSS across 19.2 GHz processing bandwidth. Our system also has a high (9-bit) resolution for signal demixing thanks to a recently developed dithering control method, resulting in higher signal-to-interference ratios (SIR) even for ill-conditioned mixtures.

  2. Microwave communications have witnessed an incipient proliferation of multi-antenna and opportunistic technologies in the wake of an ever-growing demand for spectrum resources, while facing increasingly difficult network management over widespread channel interference and heterogeneous wireless broadcasting. Radio frequency (RF) blind source separation (BSS) is a powerful technique for demixing mixtures of unknown signals with minimal assumptions, but relies on frequency dependent RF electronics and prior knowledge of the target frequency band. We propose photonic BSS with unparalleled frequency agility supported by the tremendous bandwidths of photonic channels and devices. Specifically, our approach adopts an RF photonic front-end to process RF signals at various frequency bands within the same array of integrated microring resonators, and implements a novel two-step photonic BSS pipeline to reconstruct source identities from the reduced dimensional statistics of front-end output. We verify the feasibility and robustness of our approach by performing the first proof-of-concept photonic BSS experiments on mixed-over-the-air RF signals across multiple frequency bands. The proposed technique lays the groundwork for further research in interference cancellation, radio communications, and photonic information processing.

  3. Artificial intelligence enabled by neural networks has enabled applications in many fields (e.g. medicine, finance, autonomous vehicles). Software implementations of neural networks on conventional computers are limited in speed and energy efficiency. Neuromorphic engineering aims to build processors in which hardware mimic neurons and synapses in brain for distributed and parallel processing. Neuromorphic engineering enabled by silicon photonics can offer subnanosecond latencies, and can extend the domain of artificial intelligence applications to high-performance computing and ultrafast learning. We discuss current progress and challenges on these demonstrations to scale to practical systems for training and inference.
  4. Abstract Microelectronic computers have encountered challenges in meeting all of today’s demands for information processing. Meeting these demands will require the development of unconventional computers employing alternative processing models and new device physics. Neural network models have come to dominate modern machine learning algorithms, and specialized electronic hardware has been developed to implement them more efficiently. A silicon photonic integration industry promises to bring manufacturing ecosystems normally reserved for microelectronics to photonics. Photonic devices have already found simple analog signal processing niches where electronics cannot provide sufficient bandwidth and reconfigurability. In order to solve more complex information processing problems, they will have to adopt a processing model that generalizes and scales. Neuromorphic photonics aims to map physical models of optoelectronic systems to abstract models of neural networks. It represents a new opportunity for machine information processing on sub-nanosecond timescales, with application to mathematical programming, intelligent radio frequency signal processing, and real-time control. The strategy of neuromorphic engineering is to externalize the risk of developing computational theory alongside hardware. The strategy of remaining compatible with silicon photonics externalizes the risk of platform development. In this perspective article, we provide a rationale for a neuromorphic photonics processor, envisioning its architecture and amore »compiler. We also discuss how it can be interfaced with a general purpose computer, i.e. a CPU, as a coprocessor to target specific applications. This paper is intended for a wide audience and provides a roadmap for expanding research in the direction of transforming neuromorphic photonics into a viable and useful candidate for accelerating neuromorphic computing.« less