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In Optics express

This paper proposes StarLight, a low-power consumption and high inference throughput photonic artificial neural network (ANN) accelerator featuring the photonic 'in-memory' computing and hybrid mode-wavelength division multiplexing (MDM-WDM) technologies. Specifically, StarLight uses nanophotonic non-volatile memory and passive microring resonators (MRs) to form a photonic dot-produce engine, achieving optical 'in-memory' multiplication operation with near-zero power consumption during the inference phase. Furthermore, we design an on-chip wavelength and mode hybrid multiplexing module and scheme to increase the computational parallelism. As a proof of concept, a 4×4×4 optical computing unit featuring 4-wavelength and 4-mode is simulated with 10 Gbps, 15 Gbps and 20 Gbps data rates. We also implemented a simulation on the Iris dataset classification and achieved an inference accuracy of 96%, which is entirely consistent with the classification accuracy on a 64-bit computer. Therefore, StarLight holds promise for realizing low energy consumption hardware accelerators to address the incoming challenges of data-intensive artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Guo Pengxing, Zhou Niujie, Hou Weigang, Guo Lei