Photonic neuromorphic technologies in optical communications

Argyris, Apostolos
Nanophotonics 11, 5, 897-916 (2022)

Machine learning (ML) and neuromorphic computing have been enforcing problem-solving in many applications. Such approaches found fertile ground in optical communications, a technological field that is very demanding in terms of computational speed and complexity. The latest breakthroughs are strongly supported by advanced signal processing, implemented in the digital domain. Algorithms of different levels of complexity aim at improving data recovery, expanding the reach of transmission, validating the integrity of the optical network operation, and monitoring data transfer faults. Lately, the concept of reservoir computing (RC) inspired hardware implementations in photonics that may offer revolutionary solutions in this field. In a brief introduction, I discuss some of the established digital signal processing (DSP) techniques and some new approaches based on ML and neural network (NN) architectures. In the main part, I review the latest neuromorphic computing proposals that specifically apply to photonic hardware and give new perspectives on addressing signal processing in optical communications. I discuss the fundamental topologies in photonic feed-forward and recurrent network implementations. Finally, I review the photonic topologies that were initially tested for channel equalization benchmark tasks, and then in fiber transmission systems, for optical header recognition, data recovery, and modulation format identification.

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