Optics has been used in computing for a number of years but the
main emphasis has been and continues to be to link portions of computers,
for communications, or more intrinsically in devices that have some
optical application or component (optical pattern recognition, etc).
Optical digital computers are still some years away, however a number
of devices that can ultimately lead to real optical computers have
already been manufactured, including optical logic gates, optical
switches, optical interconnections, and optical memory. The most
likely near-term optical computer will really be a hybrid composed
of traditional architectural design along with some portions that
can perform some functional operations in optical mode.
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