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The authors attempt to form a coherent picture that may suggest possible future directions of using the benefits optics has to offer, yet avoiding its drawbacks for optical interconnection networks. Possible questions addressed include: What is the nature of (some) parallel applications that may be used to avoid optical processing in the network? How can reconfiguration be used in an efficient way to permit using processing-less optical communication? What are the devices issues that need to be addressed? What opto-electronic devices can be used? What is the expected performance of such devices (density, bandwidth)? What are the connection needs to the electronic processing elements? What are the aspects of packaging? Will a distributed layout be better than a centralized one (i.e., using one central device vs. multiple devices)? How will such a reconfigurable system be used in a real environment (multi-users, partitioning of jobs, distribution of global data)? What applications can benefit from such an architecture and how general purpose can it be (business applications: databases, transaction processing; scientific applications; engineering applications; future applications)?
Date of Conference: 26-27 Apr 1994