Information processing is increasingly limited by the energy required for interconnections and by the need for greater density of communications. Unfortunately, wires cannot scale to solve these problems. Optics and photonics allow us both to increase density and to reduce energy for communications on and off electronic chips and for all longer distances , they offer orders of magnitude of "headroom" for improving both density and energy, and they may be the only viable approach. Photonic technology has its challenges, but recent advances and future possibilities show that integrated photonics could provide the necessary technical solutions; indeed, such advanced photonics technology will be essential if our use of information is to continue to increase at current rates . This talk will summarize the arguments for why we need such photonics and also some of the surprising directions we will need to consider; for example, for short distance interconnects inside and possibly between machines, to reduce energy we may need to avoid any time-multiplexing and exploit parallel free-space optics instead. Fortunately, technologies like silicon photonics could help us do this, though we need new generations of integration and optical system technology.
 D. A. B. Miller, Attojoule Optoelectronics for Low-Energy Information Processing and Communications: a Tutorial Review, IEEE/OSA J. Lightwave Technology 35, 343-393 (2017) DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2017.2647779
David Miller is the W. M. Keck Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Following his B. Sc. from St. Andrews University, he received his Ph. D in Physics from Heriot-Watt University in 1979, and was with Bell Laboratories from 1981 to 1996, as a department head from 1987. His interests include nanophotonics, quantum-well optoelectronics, and optics in information sensing, interconnects, and processing. He has published more than 270 scientific papers, a quantum mechanics text, and 74 patents, and has a Google h-index of over 100. He has taught open online quantum mechanics classes to over 40,000 students. He was President of IEEE LEOS (now Photonics Society) in 1995. He has received several awards, is a Fellow of APS, OSA, IEEE, the Electromagnetics Academy, the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, holds two Honorary Doctorates, and is a Member of the US National Academies of Sciences and of Engineering.