Tuesday, February 13, 2024

HS students create light-powered super chip


Fairfax Co. students create light-powered super chip, impacting data center industry

A group of teenagers in Fairfax County have created a supercomputer chip with the goal of reinventing the computer.

“We used to skip lunch,” said Sathvik Redrouthu. “Make little structures out of popsicle sticks.”

Redrouthu is one of the founders of Procyon, a company he started with his friends aimed at reinventing the computer, allowing them to on laser light rather than electricity. The group has been coming up and brainstorming ideas since their elementary school days.

“Random products like just coming up with new things and figuring out how we can make it work,” described Pranav Vadde.

There was a machine that provided a different way to enter a password. Then there was this theoretical device.

“Something like a laser shoots stuff and then you would teleport to where it went. So we made the laser. We didn’t make the teleportation part,” remembered Jagadeepram Maddipatla.

These days, these high schoolers are still working on the technology of the future. But this time, they have an actual prototype. Their latest invention is a supercomputer chip powered by light.

“The light coming out your light bulb is insanely fast. It's the fastest thing in the world,” explained Redrouthu. “So we were like, what if you just replace all that electricity with just with light? So they're like small lasers like inside the chip.”

With this chip, information would travel faster and it allows computers to run a lot more efficiently.

Plus there’s the potential to make a positive impact on the environment too, something that’s been a major concern around data centers.

“The benefit of light is that it expels minimal heat,” said Pranav Velleleth. “So you don't need to have the same cooling infrastructure to cool your servers It's better for the environment. Doesn’t use as much water.”

They’ve traveled the world pitching their ideas, attending conferences and more, even getting funding from Silicon Valley investors.

“Our parents were supportive of us going and missing a week of school and that's overall a good experience,” said Velleleth.

While other students may be looking at colleges, they’re considering taking a gap year to fully focus on this.

“We're just really excited to see where this goes in the future,” said Maddipatla. “We're going to just keep working on it. We don't plan on stopping anytime soon.”

Their advice? Don’t be afraid to try and fail. There’s been a lot of ideas over the years, and they’re pretty proud of this one.

You can find out more about their work on the Procyon website here.