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Computer Systems Based on Silicon Photonic Interconnects

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9 Author(s)

We present a computing microsystem that uniquely leverages the bandwidth, density, and latency advantages of silicon photonic interconnect to enable highly compact supercomputer-scale systems. We describe and justify single-node and multinode systems interconnected with wavelength-routed optical links, quantify their benefits vis-a-vis electrically connected systems, analyze the constituent optical component and system requirements, and provide an overview of the critical technologies needed to fulfill this system vision. This vision calls for more than a hundredfold reduction in energy to communicate an optical bit of information. We explore the power dissipation of a photonic link, suggest a roadmap to lower the energy-per-bit of silicon photonic interconnects, and identify the challenges that will be faced by device and circuit designers towards this goal.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:97 ,  Issue: 7 )