Monday, March 27, 2023

Canada backs Ranovus for its photonic interconnects

Ranovus, which develops photonic interconnects, has secured a $36 million contribution through the Government of Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support a $100 million project that will advance the domestic production and manufacturing of semiconductor products.

The project aims to develop the highest performing and most power-efficient technologies for interconnect computer chips for next-generation artificial intelligence systems. Building on previous work supported through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), this project includes the development of a single-chip optical engine that would allow fibre optics to replace electrical circuits in high–performance computers for data centre servers. 

Ranovus said the funding enables it to increase its highly skilled workforce in Canada to 200 full-time employees and provide opportunities to 150 Canadian co-op students. 

"The computing power for training artificial intelligence systems has grown by 300,000 times over the past 5 years, based on the recent OpenAI study. To support this unprecedented growth, thousands of computer chips must be interconnected with massive data pipes to create an artificial intelligence cluster. In 2022, Ranovus delivered ODIN, the world's fastest, smallest and lowest power consumption AI interconnect chip. ODIN consumes 75% less power, is 80% smaller than its closest rival and is scaling into production in the next 9 months with Tier 1 U.S. customers. We are investing $100 million to further scale our next-generation AI interconnect platform and are delighted by the continued support of the Strategic Innovation Fund to help keep Canada at the leading edge of the next generation of AI native infrastructure," stated Hamid Arabzadeh, Chairman and CEO, Ranovus Inc.

Ranovus, established in 2012, is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. 

SIF first funded Ranovus in 2018 with $20 million to support the development and construction of next-generation data infrastructure centres designed to reduce the environmental impact of data processing while also doubling the capacity of these centres.

In February 2022, the Government of Canada launched the Semiconductor Challenge Callout, a $150 million allocation from SIF to bolster the development and manufacturing of semiconductors in Canada.

Revolutionizing Direct Drive Pluggables with Co-Package Optics

Co-packaged optics (CPO) were a hot topic at #OFC23 in San Diego.

In this video, Hamid Abzadeh, Chairman and CEO of Ranovus, discusses the advantages of co-package optics in module applications with direct drive technology. Co-package optics enable a significant reduction in power consumption for pluggable applications, as demonstrated by Ranovus' Odin platform. The co-package optics version of the Odin platform has a power consumption of 5 pico joules per bit (5pJ/bit), including the lasers, which is significantly lower than the re-timed version. This reduction in power consumption makes the technology ideal for AI and machine learning interconnect, which is a scalable function that could be networked through multiple GPUs and CPUs.

Abzadeh also talks about the interoperability and networkability of co-package optics technology. Renovus' Odin platform is integrated with AMD Xilinx and can be interconnected with standard-based modules, as demonstrated by the 800 gig OSFP module from a third party. Furthermore, Ranovus' own module is also interconnected with the third-party module to show the power consumption and differences between the two.

Odin is built using GlobalFoundries' Fotonix monolithic RF/CMOS silicon photonics (SiPh) platform.

Nokia extends AVA Energy software to data centers, base stations

Nokia has upgraded its multivendor AVA Energy efficiency software with enhanced algorithms and power saving measures to now enables CSPs to lower power consumption in their data centers, in addition to network base stations, batteries, and air conditioning units in telco networks.

Nokia estimates its updated AVA Energy efficiency software can reduce power usage of up to 30%, up about 10 percentage points relative to the original software, based on customer testing. The enhanced tool allows operators to shutdown idling and unused equipment automatically through the algorithms, with the option to completely disconnect hardware through remote power control modules.

Nokia's AVA Energy efficiency software is deployed in  more than 50 completed or active energy saving projects with CSPs around the world, as companies look to lower overall energy costs while addressing environmental sustainability issues in their operations.

CSPs spend between 3% and 20% of their total revenue on energy costs, according to Analysys Mason’s recently published report, “Taming increased energy usage: the key role of AI-based energy efficiency solutions”.

Hamdy Farid, Senior Vice President, Business Applications at Nokia, said: “Nokia’s investment in new and better solutions never stops and this upgrade to Nokia AVA Energy efficiency demonstrates not only the superior level of our software capabilities, but also Nokia’s broader commitment to cut carbon emissions across its value chain.”

Windstream Wholesale adds 400G Toronto-to-Chicago route

Windstream Wholesale has partnered with Bluewater Regional Networks have partnered to establish a high-capacity route from Toronto to Chicago.

The new network path provides 10 GbE, 100 GbE and 400 GbE waves from Toronto to Sarnia, Ontario, and then on to Lapeer, Michigan, and Chicago. It features multiple access points throughout Ontario, Quebec and Michigan, offering diversity to anywhere in the US.

Bluewater Regional Networks, headquartered in Sarnia, operates a community-owned network established to address the local digital divide throughout Southwestern Ontario, with an emphasis on enhancing connectivity between Canada and the U.S. for multinational customers.

“Joining forces with exceptional partners like Bluewater Regional Networks is a key part of Windstream Wholesale’s strategy to meet our customers’ increasing demand for high-capacity bandwidth and geographic network diversity that protects against service disruptions,” said Joe Scattareggia, chief revenue officer for Windstream Wholesale. “This unique network route from Toronto to Chicago is a perfect answer for the growing number of large-scale customers looking to connect data centers in the U.S. and Canada.”

IBM to build Quantum Center with Fundación Ikerbasque

IBM will establish a leading quantum computational hub in partnership with Fundación Ikerbasque, the Basque Foundation for Science in the Basque Country of Spain. This is the second such IBM Quantum Computational Center to be announced in Europe.

The IBM-Euskadi Quantum Computational Center will provide Qiskit Runtime services from a 127-qubit IBM Quantum System One located in San Sebastian and managed by IBM. The initiative aims to advance quantum research, build a quantum workforce, promote economic development, and provide the necessary quantum computing infrastructure to achieve those goals. The IBM-Euskadi Quantum Computational Center will promote the use of advanced technology across all the Basque Country Government and the General Deputations (Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa), further elevating research institutions by expanding international research collaborations, performing world-class fundamental scientific research, and increasing the quantum-trained talent in the region.

“It is very risky to say what the future of quantum computers will bring us. Nobody knows for sure. What we do know for sure is that the Basque Country must be prepared for the future. It is essential to be in a good starting position for when the situation requires it. Euskadi joins today, a select group of IBM Quantum Computational Centers. We will actively collaborate with this Network and we will contribute all our knowledge to continue developing this technology. IBM’s commitment to the Basque Country reflects a new recognition of our science, technology and innovation system. The Basque Country believes in science and invests in it. We do so, convinced that our welfare will come through progress, through scientific advances,” assured the President of the Basque Country Government, Mr. Iñigo Urkullu.

“The IBM-Euskadi Quantum Computational Center is further proof of our commitment in building open communities of innovation to tackle the most challenging problems of our time,” said Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, IBM. “This partnership will bring to bear the full scope of IBM's quantum technologies to The Basque Country’s world-class scientific and industrial communities. We are proud to be working with the Government of The Basque Country, as well as private sector and academic partners, to take innovation in Spain to the next level.”

Since 2016, IBM has deployed over 60 quantum computers for external use. There are now more than 20 quantum computing systems, including the 433-qubit IBM Osprey processor.

Intel intros pint-sized enterprise PC

Intel introduced its NUC 13 Pro, a small, enterprise-class PC with up to a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with six Performance-cores (P-cores) and eight Efficient-cores (E-cores).


  • Support for up to 64GB dual-channel DDR4-3200 MHz memory.
  • M.2 slots for PCIe x4 Gen 4 NVMe SSD and second SSD.
  • Intel i226 Ethernet for speeds up to 2.5 Gbps.
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.
  • Two HDMI ports and two Thunderbolt™ 4 ports (four displays at 4K@60 Hz).
  • Three USB 3.2 ports and one USB 2.0 port.

The Intel NUC 13 Pro Kits and Mini PCs are expected to be available starting in late March, with prices ranging from $340 to $1,080, depending on the configuration. The bare-bones Kit versions allow users to customize memory, storage and operating system to suit their needs. Fully equipped Mini PC versions come complete with memory, storage and the Microsoft Windows operating system. And there are Board versions to allow ecosystem partners to build NUC 13 Pros into their own custom solutions.

Raja Koduri leaves Intel for AI gaming start-up

Raja Koduri, Intel Chief Architect and Executive Vice President, Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, has stepped down to become founder of generative AI gaming startup. 

Earlier in his career, he was with AMD and Apple.