Lightmatter, a startup using light to calculate faster and more efficiently than existing artificial intelligence hardware, took home the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 grand prize Wednesday night after beating out seven teams of finalists during the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition’s Launch Finale held last night on the MIT campus.
A panel of judges made up of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry professionals said they chose Lightmatter based on the strength of their technology, business plan, pitch, and team composition.
To power the next generation of artificial intelligence, say the MIT PhD students behind Lightmatter, a new kind of computing hardware is needed.
“While big datasets and the steady advancement of electronic computing hardware have enabled the artificial intelligence revolution, progress in electronics is slowing as the transistor—the workhorse of modern computers—approaches its fundamental size limit,” says Nicholas Harris, co-inventor of the startup’s optical neural network technology. “At Lightmatter, we’re using light to accelerate artificial intelligence. By computing with light, rather than electrical signals, Lightmatter’s systems are able to calculate faster and more efficiently than existing artificial intelligence hardware.”
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