Skip to Main Content
Optical communication, in particular, wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) technique, has become a promising networking choice to meet ever-increasing demands on bandwidth from emerging bandwidth-intensive computing/communication applications, such as data browsing in the World Wide Web, multimedia conferencing, e-commerce, and video-on-demand services. As optics becomes a major networking media in all communications needs, optical interconnects will inevitably play an important role in interconnecting processors in parallel and distributed computing systems. We consider a cost-effective design of WDM optical interconnects for current and future generation parallel and distributed computing and communication systems. We first categorize WDM optical interconnects into two different connection models based on their target applications: the wavelength-based model and the fiber-link-based model. Most of existing WDM optical interconnects belong to the first category. We then present a minimum cost design for WDM optical interconnects under wavelength-based model by using sparse crossbar switches instead of full crossbar switches in combination with wavelength converters. For applications that use the fiber-link-based model, we show that network cost can be significantly reduced, and present such a minimum cost design for WDM optical interconnects under this model. Finally, we generalize the idea used in the design for the fiber-link-based model to WDM optical interconnects under the wavelength-based model, and obtain another new design that can trade off switch cost with wavelength converter cost in this type of WDM optical interconnect. The results in this paper are applicable to any emerging optical switching technologies, such as SOA-based and MEMS-based technologies.