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The network-on-chip (NoC) paradigm has emerged as a promising solution for providing connectivity among the increasing number of cores that get integrated into both systems-on chip (SoC) and chip multiprocessors (CMP). In future high performance CMPs, however, the high bandwidth requirements will not be adequately provided by electronic NoCs without dissipating large amounts of power. Previously, we have made the case for the photonic NoC as a unique interconnect solution for delivering scalable bandwidth-per-watt performance that surpasses equivalent electronic NoCs. Building on this work, we study the adoption of photonic communication for CMPs and we present three main contributions: (1) we propose two nonblocking topologies for photonic NoC designs and we assess both qualitatively and quantitatively the pros and cons that they offer with respect to the original (blocking) topology, (2) we show how a photonic NoC is better suited for a CMP made of complex multi-threaded cores, and (3) we present the first simulation based assessment of the benefits of using a photonic NoC for a real application, i.e. computing a large FFT.
Date of Conference: 26-28 Aug. 2008