Photonic Computing for Transformative AI
On-Premises solutions

Accepting pre-orders

For production-grade Machine Learning, the LightOn Appliance can be seamlessly integrated on-premises in your own data center.


Cloud Computing solutions

Discover today the potential of LightOn OPU technology through the LightOn Cloud platform.


Photonic Quantum Computing

LightOn Qore: A novel Quantum Photonic Processor


LightOn unveils its plan to join the quantum computing space with the LightOn Qore series of quantum photonic processors. LightOn Qores are versatile, powerful, and low-loss platforms designed for the rapidly growing field of NISQ (Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum) computing.


Extreme-Scale Models

PAGnol: 1.5B+ parameters, the largest language model in French, released on May 4th, 2021


Available for testing at

esPAGnol: 750M+ parameters (experimental), the largest language model in Spanish, released on July 7th, 2021

Available for testing at

Upcoming: Larger models + more languages

LightOn products FAQs

How is LightOn different from other AI chip companies?

  • LightOn is re-defining computing for some of today’s largest challenges in AI and HPC. We develop new photonic computing hardware orders of magnitude more efficient than silicon chips. Either seamlessly integrated into existing computing pipelines or leveraging optimized algorithms, LightOn’s technology makes it radically easier to process large-scale data. With massive models now more accessible, we provide unique tools to unlock their tremendous economic, societal, and scientific impact.
  • LightOn is built around a community of AI researchers and ML engineers in both academia and industry. We communicate to the science and tech community through journal papers, preprints, conference presentations, blog posts, workshops, and our API documentation pages, and our GitHub account and we open-source most of the LightOn AI Research (LAIR) algorithms.
  • We also organize monthly meetups with world-class guest researchers; you are welcome to join us in the next one!

Will LightOn Appliance / LightOn Cloud make my ML algorithms run faster?

Short Answer: It depends on the algorithm and the specific implementation.

Long Answer: LightOn’s products feature an OPU, designed as a specialized co-processor, that speeds up some of large-scale matrix-vector multiplications useful in AI and HPC. We have not internally examined all the potential algorithms, therefore we may not know whether there is potential for speedup towards your specific use-case. You can evaluate the OPU for this purpose by accessing it directly through LightOn Cloud ( LightOn’s team has written a few blog posts about some common use cases, together with the publications section ( by our team and user community.

LightOn can also provide consulting services (possibly under NDA) to help you evaluate the potential of the OPU technology for a specific use case.

Does LightOn Appliance need a CPU/GPU to work?

  • LightOn Appliance does not need a GPU but it does need a CPU. The Appliance must be connected to a compatible server. You can see the minimum requirements in the spec sheet.
  • You should keep in mind that the LightOn Appliance is not a general-purpose processor and can perform specific computations of interest to ML and HPC. Therefore, in the majority of cases, the OPU can improve the performance of an ML pipeline working in conjunction with a GPU.

How can I learn more about LightOn's technology?

You may visit our technology page ( where you will also find technology-related FAQs.

What is the difference between LightOn Cloud and LightOn Appliance? Which product is right for me?

  • LightOn Appliance is our on-premises product for production-grade Machine Learning. LightOn Appliance can be seamlessly integrated into your own data center and is available to pre-order. Learn more at
  • LightOn Cloud is our cloud platform through which you can have access to LightOn OPUs without the need to host a LightOn Appliance on your data center. Learn more at
  • Both products use the same underlying OPU technology. A typical situation is to start using the LightOn Cloud to test your algorithms at a small scale before leasing an Appliance to go to production.

Can I mine Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies (Ethereum, etc.) with LightOn Appliance / on LightOn Cloud?


OPUs, Photonic Cores, products... how is everything connected?

  • Both LightOn Appliance and LightOn Cloud are based on the same underlying Optical Processing Unit (OPU) technology, the first large-scale hybrid digital/analog computing platform for AI.
  • Inside the OPU lies the Photonic Core, the brain of the OPU. The Photonic Core implements specific operations in a massively parallel fashion.
  • Different Photonic Core families perform different operations. For example, the Nitro Photonic Cores perform the native Random Projections followed by an element-wise quadratic non-linearity, while the Lazuli Photonic Cores perform linear Random Projections.
  • Improvements in OPU or Photonic Core generations (without changing the performed operation) are marked with gen# progression.

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