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Tomorrow's systems will need high-bandwidth and dense communication paths at various levels. Commercial high-performance computers are now beginning to use optical interconnections at the inter-cabinet level. These connections usually consist of optical fiber ribbons, with each fiber carrying signals at 1 to 2 Gbit/s over distances of 200 to 300 m. The aggregate bandwidth is as much as 30 Gbit/s. The authors propose integrating suitable optoelectronic devices with silicon electronics, which will allow designers to use optical communication channels to transfer data on and off chips. The authors describe an optically interconnected architecture for high-speed computation, image processing and robotic vision systems. They conclude that optoelectronic parallel processing systems will overcome some of the interconnection problems facing conventional electronic technology-allowing high-speed computers powerful enough for vision and image processing applications.
Date of Publication: Feb. 1998