Laser-Based Processor: A Nanosecond is Still A Foot

Intel's announcement of a laser-based chip is frickin' cool and, at the practical level, may be a big deal (beats me). But one thing that blows my mind every time I think about it is that light can only travel \~11.8 inches in a billionth of a second. And even though things get tricky when you start talking about CPU clocks multipliers, if we take a 4GHz CPU at face value, light can only travel 3 inches per cycle! You could barely get around the perimeter of the chip in that time! So chip designers literally have to take into account time as a physical dimension! That's just awesome! (As clearly evidenced by my excessive use of exclamation points.)

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