Optical Computing

  • Thomas J. NaughtonEmail author
  • Damien Woods
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science Series book series (ECSSS)


Coherent light

Light of a narrowband of wavelengths (temporally coherent) and a light beam whose phase is approximately constant over its cross-sectional area (spatial coherence). For example, coherent light can be produced by a laser.

Continuous space machine (CSM)

A general optical model of computation that is defined in section “Continuous Space Machine (CSM).”


A device for sensing light.

Incoherent light

Light which is not spatially coherent and not temporally coherent. For example, incoherent light is produced by a conventional light bulb.


Complexity classes: these classes are respectively defined as the set of problems solvable on polynomial time deterministic Turing machines, polynomial time nondeterministic Turing machines, polynomial space Turing machines, and parallel computers that use polylogarithmic time and polynomial hardware (Papadimitriou 1995).

Parallel computation thesis

This thesis states that parallel time corresponds, within a...


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNational University of IrelandMaynooth County KildareIreland
  2. 2.Computer ScienceCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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