Title: Large-scale neuromorphic optoelectronic computing with a reconfigurable diffractive processing unit
Abstract: There is an ever-growing demand for artificial intelligence. Optical processors, which compute with photons instead of electrons, can fundamentally accelerate the development of artificial intelligence by offering substantially improved computing performance. There has been long-term interest in optically constructing the most widely used artificial-intelligence architecture, that is, artificial neural networks, to achieve brain-inspired information processing at the speed of light. However, owing to restrictions in design flexibility and the accumulation of system errors, existing processor architectures are not reconfigurable and have limited model complexity and experimental performance. Here, we propose the reconfigurable diffractive processing unit, an optoelectronic fused computing architecture based on the diffraction of light, which can support different neural networks and achieve a high model complexity with millions of neurons. Along with the developed adaptive training approach to circumvent system errors, we achieved excellent experimental accuracies for high-speed image and video recognition over benchmark datasets and a computing performance superior to that of cutting-edge electronic computing platforms.