The authenticity of ChatGPT lies in its use of the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) autoregressive language model from OpenAI, which uses deep learning to produce text. At 175 billion parameters, the architecture for this model surpasses the level of processing exhibited by the human brain (which is equivalent to a model of 100 billion parameters).
AI models such as these are putting huge demands on hardware components such as memory, GPUs, CPUs, and accelerators that process them. A hardware foundation comprised of large arrays of GPUs and high-bandwidth optical connectivity is needed to execute AI models, but all of this comes with some serious power (and cost) considerations.
Hyperscale data centers—which typically feature at least 5,000 servers managing petabytes or more of data in 100,000s of square feet of space—provide efficiency in their ability to quickly process voluminous amounts of data. However, this capacity and capability comes with a huge power penalty: data center energy use was in the 220-to-330 Terawatt-hours (TWh) range in 2021, representing roughly 0.9% to 1.3% of global final electricity demand, according to the International Energy Agency. To put things into perspective, this is more energy than some countries consume in one year.
In many data centers, the hardware components are typically connected via copper interconnects, while the connections between the racks in the centers often use optical fiber. The trend to use optical connections for increasingly shorter distances is now reaching a point where optical I/Os for core silicon such as switches, CPUs, GPUs, and die-to-die interconnects using photonics are quickly emerging as an inevitable solution for next-generation data centers. By using the properties of light, photonic ICs can enable, extend, and increase data transmission. From a physics standpoint, nothing else can do what photonics can do to increase bandwidth and speed while also reducing latency and power consumption. This is just what data centers—and the AI chatbots that rely on them—need.
“As we drive discovery of the most optimal AI and quantum systems for an array of industries, including healthcare, finance, and industrial, we experience the real benefits of using photonics for a substantial uplift in bandwidth and speed,” said Dr Nagendra Nagaraja, founder and CEO of QpiAI. “Synopsys photonics solutions enable us to infuse our technologies with the speed of light to help our customers enhance their business outcomes.”