Abstract

The potential and promise of very high-performance spatial light modulators (SLMs) capable of performing logic operations have motivated the investigation of digital computing systems that possess many desirable attributes of optical systems, namely, massive parallelism, global communication at high bandwidths, high reliability, many useful degrees of freedom, robustness in the presence of defects, and simplicity. The parallelism of easily realizable optical single-instruction multiple-data (SIMD) arrays makes them a natural choice for implementation of highly structured algorithms for the numerical solution of multidimensional partial differential equations and the computation of fast numerical transforms. A system comprising several SLMs, an optical read/write memory, and a functional block to perform simple, space-invariant shifts on images has enough flexibility to implement the fastest known methods for partial differential equations (e.g., multilevel methods) as well as a wide variety of numerical transforms (e.g., FFT, Walsh-Hadamard transform, rapid transform) in two or more dimensions and using either fixed or floating-point arithmetic. Performance is projected at >109 floating-point operations/s using SLMs with 1000 × 1000 resolution operating at 1-MHz frame rates.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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