Efficient Neural Network Accelerators with Optical Computing and Communication

Chengpeng Xia1, Yawen Chen1, Haibo Zhang1, Hao Zhang1, Fei Dai1 and Jigang Wu2

  1. Department of Computer Science, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
    chengpeng.xia@postgrad.otago.ac.nz, {yawen, haibo, travis}@cs.otago.ac.nz, hao.zhang@postgrad.otago.ac.nz, asjgwuch@outlook.com
  2. School of Computers, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, China


Conventional electronic Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) accelerators focus on architecture design and numerical computation optimization to improve the training efficiency. However, these approaches have recently encountered bottlenecks in terms of energy efficiency and computing performance, which leads to an increase interest in photonic accelerator. Photonic architectures with low energy consumption, high transmission speed and high bandwidth have been considered as an important role for generation of computing architectures. In this paper, to provide a better understanding of optical technology used in ANN acceleration, we present a comprehensive review for the efficient photonic computing and communication in ANN accelerators. The related photonic devices are investigated in terms of the application in ANNs acceleration, and a classification of existing solutions is proposed that are categorized into optical computing acceleration and optical communication acceleration according to photonic effects and photonic architectures. Moreover, we discuss the challenges for these photonic neural network acceleration approaches to highlight the most promising future research opportunities in this field.

Key words

Optical neural networks, Optical interconnection networks, Neural network accelerator

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Publication information

Volume 14, Issue 3 (September 2017)
Advances in Information Technology, Distributed and Model Driven Systems
Year of Publication: 2017
ISSN: 2406-1018 (Online)
Publisher: ComSIS Consortium

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How to cite

Xia, C., Chen, Y., Zhang, H., Zhang, H., Dai, F., Wu, J.: Efficient Neural Network Accelerators with Optical Computing and Communication. Computer Science and Information Systems, Vol. 14, No. 3, 513–535. (2017), https://doi.org/10.2298/CSIS220131066X