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Science for Humanity

June 26, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

"Using Light-based Communication to Address the Hidden Energy Cost of the Internet" is the next session in the Science for Humanity Series, hosted by the NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines at UC Merced.

UC Berkeley postdoctoral scholar Seth Fortuna will speak from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, in S&E 2, Room 224. Open to all students, faculty, staff and the local community. Free admission. Guest parking in Bellevue Lot. Permit-less parking dispenser; credit card only. Coffee, tea and snacks provided.

Do we consider the energy consumed when we scroll through social media news feeds or stream video on our cell phone? Probably not. Indeed, the seemingly effortless transfer of content across the internet is a major technological achievement from which we all benefit. However, if we look deeper we observe a concerning trend: our increasing appetite for internet content is contributing to significant electricity usage. To serve content, the major internet companies rely on hyperscale data centers which use a remarkable 2% of the total electrical power consumed in the United States. In this talk, I will discuss how light-based communication is employed to help mitigate the rise in data center power usage and to handle increasing internet traffic. Today, light is primarily used for computer server-to-server communication. I will discuss emerging approaches to use light-based communication within the server and eventually within a computer chip. I will highlight our research at UC Berkeley where we are borrowing techniques used in radio communication to create nanometer-sized antennas to transmit light within a computer chip.

Fortuna works in the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science where he develops novel devices for energy efficient computing and communication. His recent dissertation research on nanoscale light emitting diodes was recognized with the Tucker Award which honors superior work and scholarship in the technology of materials used in semiconductor devices. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, he worked in the semiconductor industry as a reliability and failure analysis engineer.


Science and Engineering Building 2, Room 224

Contact Information

CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM)