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Advances in Optical Technologies
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 372652, 15 pages
Research Article

Optical Computing: A 60-Year Adventure

Laboratoire Modélisation Intelligence Processus Systèmes, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Ingénieurs Sud Alsace, Université de Haute Alsace, 12 rue des Frères Lumière, 68093 Mulhouse Cedex, France

Received 15 December 2009; Accepted 19 February 2010

Academic Editor: Peter V. Polyanskii

Copyright © 2010 Pierre Ambs. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Optical computing is a very interesting 60-year old field of research. This paper gives a brief historical review of the life of optical computing from the early days until today. Optical computing generated a lot of enthusiasm in the sixties with major breakthroughs opening a large number of perspectives. The period between 1980 and 2000 could be called the golden age with numerous new technologies and innovating optical processors designed and constructed for real applications. Today the field of optical computing is not ready to die, it has evolved and its results benefit to new research topics such as nanooptics, biophotonics, or communication systems.