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The communications chips can transfer information through optical fibres at a blistering 25 gigabits per second (a gigabit is a billion bits). This is a record for such components, according to NEC, and is many times faster that the purely electronic interconnects used in today's supercomputers.
Communications chips can convert electronic signals into optical ones. Using optical fibres to relay data between the chips is what may give this type of supercomputer the edge over previous ones using processors connected electronically.
NEC used a type of semiconducting laser diode called a Vertical-Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) which generates laser pulses in response to an electrical current. Researchers at the company created more efficient VCSEL devices by making the diodes from a blend of gallium arsenide and indium gallium arsenide - they used indium instead of the more conventional aluminium. This made it possible to transfer laser pulses more rapidly through optical fibre.