November & December 2020
January & February 2021

Online event

Webinar 'Photonics & Artificial Intelligence'

Tuesday 9 February
15:00 - 17:00

Johannes Feldmann

University of Munster/University of Oxford

Title: Towards brain-inspired photonic computing


Photonic integrated circuits allow for designing computing architectures which process optical signals in analogy to electronic integrated circuits. Therein electrical connections are replaced with photonic waveguides which guide light to desired locations on chip. Through near-field coupling, such waveguides enable interactions with functional materials placed very close to the waveguide surface. This way, photonic circuits which are normally passive in their response are able to display active functionality and thus provide the means to build reconfigurable systems. By integrating phase-change materials nonvolatile components can be devised which allow for implementing hardware mimics of neural tissue. Here I will present our efforts on using such a platform for developing optical non-von Neumann computing devices. In these reconfigurable photonic circuits in-memory computing allows for overcoming separation between memory and central processing unit as a route towards artificial neural networks which operate entirely in the optical domain.


Johannes Feldmann received the B.S. degree (2013) and the M.S degree (2015) in Physics from the WWU Münster, Münster, Germany. He then pursued research as a Ph.D student in the group of Prof. Wolfram Pernice at the University of Münster and received his degree for his thesis on ‘Photonic non-von Neumann Processors’ from the Institute of Physics. 
At the end of 2020, Johannes joined the group of Prof. Harish Bhaskaran at the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher. His research is focused on the development of integrated nanophotonic circuits with phase-change materials for all-optical signal processing and computation, especially for AI applications.

Company description University of Munster:

The University of Munster (German: Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, WWU) is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. With more than 43,000 students and over 120 fields of study in 15 departments, it is Germany’s fifth largest university and one of the foremost centers of German intellectual life. The university offers a wide range of subjects across the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Several courses are also taught in English, including PhD programmes as well as postgraduate courses in geoinformatics, geospational technologies or information systems. Professors and former students have won ten Leibniz Prizes, the most prestigious as well as the best-funded prize in Europe, and one Fields Medal. The WWU has also been successful in the German government’s Excellence Initiative.

Company description University of Oxford:

The University of Oxford will work as one Oxford bringing together their staff, students and alumni, their colleges, faculties, departments and divisions to provide world-class research and education. They will do this in ways which benefit society on a local, regional, national and global scale. They will build on the University’s long-standing traditions of independent scholarship and academic freedom while fostering a culture in which innovation and collaboration play an important role. 

They are committed to equality of opportunity, to engendering inclusivity, and to supporting staff and student wellbeing, ensuring that the very best students and staff can flourish in their community. They believe that a diverse staff and student body strengthens their research and enhances their students’ learning.

The University’s distinctive democratic structure, born of its history, will continue to offer a source of strength. Likewise Oxford’s collegiate structure provides the University with key aspects of its academic strength and its highly attractive student experience. Oxford will continue to foster the interdisciplinary nature of the colleges, their teaching strength, and their defining and enduring sense of community.