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GLOBALFOUNDRIES And Ayar Labs Collaborate To Speed Up Data Centre Applications

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GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Ayar Labs, a startup bringing optical
input/output (I/O) to silicon chips, has announced a strategic collaboration to
co-develop and commercialize differentiated silicon photonic technology
solutions. The companies will develop and manufacture Ayar’s novel CMOS optical
I/O technology, using GF’s 45nm CMOS fabrication process, to deliver an
alternative to copper I/O that offers up to 10x higher bandwidth and up to 5x
lower power. This cost-effective solution is integrated in-package with
customer ASICs as a multi-chip module, and improves data speed and energy
efficiency in cloud servers, datacenters and supercomputers. As part of the
agreement, GF has also invested an undisclosed amount in Ayar Labs.

Modern data centers and cloud applications require
high-performance, power-hungry chips to process and analyze huge volumes of
data in real time. Growth in chip I/O capabilities has not matched exponential
increases in computing power, because of physical limitations in electrical
data transmission. Optical I/O, which leverages optical components on the CMOS
die to transmit data at rapid speeds, will be a key enabler to overcoming the
limitations of today’s data center interconnects. In addition, Ayar’s
technology reduces power consumption at both the network and processor level.

“GF has demonstrated true technology leadership in
recognizing optical I/O as the inevitable next step as we move into a More than
Moore world," said Alex Wright-Gladstein, CEO at Ayar Labs. “This collaboration
between Ayar and GF could improve chip communication bandwidth by more than an
order of magnitude and at lower power, and is a validation of Ayar’s viability
in the current semiconductor ecosystem. This collaboration will unlock a larger
market opportunity, expanding both our and GF’s customer base. We look forward
to working with GF to help solve the interconnect problems of today’s chips and
create greater value for our customers than if both companies worked
independently."

“The Ayar Labs team has been designing cutting-edge silicon
photonics components on GF’s technology for the past eight years and has
achieved exceptional results," said Mike Cadigan, senior vice president of
global sales and business development at GF. “Our strategic collaboration
builds on our relationship, leveraging GF’s silicon photonics IP portfolio and
our world-class manufacturing expertise to enable faster and more
energy-efficient computing systems for data centers."

The collaboration brings together Ayar Labs’ patented IP in
optical technology with GF’s best-in-class expertise in silicon photonics to
co-develop optical solutions that will be fabricated using GF’s process
technology. The availability of this technology, including certain Design IP
cores, will enable internet service providers, system vendors and communication
systems to push data capacity to 10 Tera bits per second (Tbps) and beyond,
while maintaining the low energy and cost of optical-based interconnects.

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