Moore's Lobby Podcast

Can Silicon Photonics Solve the Bandwidth Bottleneck in AI Data Centers?

Episode #78 / 51:54 / May 21, 2024 by Daniel Bogdanoff
Episode Sponsor: All About Circuits

Lightmatter aims to use light to solve two major electrical challenges in AI computing with active optical interposers designed to resolve those pesky bandwidth bottlenecks and the "world’s first" photonic computing platform for more power-efficient matrix calculations.

Steve Klinger, Vice President of Product, joins the Moore’s Lobby podcast to discuss how Lightmatter is using silicon photonics to improve speed and reduce power consumption in AI data centers. With two previous $1B+ startups under his belt, Klinger knows a thing or two about identifying successful technology solutions to current industry challenges. While compute performance continues to grow rapidly, interconnect has not been able to keep pace. In this episode, Klinger explains how Lightmatter’s flagship product, Passage, creates a programmable optical fabric for the efficient interconnect of chiplets and other silicon ICs.


Passage is a wafer-scale, programmable photonic interconnect system for connecting arrays of heterogeneous chips

Passage is a wafer-scale, programmable photonic interconnect system for connecting arrays of heterogeneous chips. Image used courtesy of Lightmatter


Klinger explains that they are trying to solve the problem of efficiently accessing all of the bandwidth on one chip and sharing it with another chip. If they can improve the interconnect bandwidth density, it will allow performance scaling to continue increasing at the workload level. Klinger emphasizes, “There are data centers with hundreds of millions of dollars of GPUs sitting idle, waiting for the network topology or the interconnects to catch up.”

So, join our host, Daniel Bogdanoff, in this deep dive into silicon photonics with Klinger. In this discussion, they address many fascinating topics, including:

  • What makes silicon photonics unique from traditional photonics?
  • The common traits shared by Klinger’s previous $1B+ startups.
  • The many job openings available at Lightmatter.


Meet Steve Klinger

Steve Klinger is currently the Vice President of Product at Lightmatter. He has a track record of success in product management, marketing, and applications. During his career, Steve has been a key contributor in driving two startups to valuations above $1B: Innovium and Cavium.



He has been involved with the definition, design-in, and production phases of industry-benchmark processors and networking/interconnect SoCs utilized by top equipment OEMs and hyperscale cloud operators.

Steve held marketing and applications engineering positions with network processor pioneer AMCC (MMC Networks) and Cypress Semiconductor. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Caliornia-Davis.