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Proceedings of the IEEE

Issue 6 • Date June 2000

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Displaying Results 1 - 16 of 16
  • Scanning the issue - Special issue on optical interconnections for digital systems

    Page(s): 723 - 727
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Rationale and challenges for optical interconnects to electronic chips

    Page(s): 728 - 749
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    The various arguments for introducing optical interconnections to silicon CMOS chips are summarized, and the challenges for optical, optoelectronic, and integration technologies are discussed. Optics could solve many physical problems of interconnects, including precise clock distribution, system synchronization (allowing larger synchronous zones, both on-chip and between chips), bandwidth and density of long interconnections, and reduction of power dissipation. Optics may relieve a broad range of design problems, such as crosstalk, voltage isolation, wave reflection, impedence matching, and pin inductance. It may allow continued scaling of existing architectures and enable novel highly interconnected or high-bandwidth architectures. No physical breakthrough is required to implement dense optical interconnects to silicon chips, though substantial technological work remains. Cost is a significant barrier to practical introduction, though revolutionary approaches exist that might achieve economies of scale. An Appendix analyzes scaling of on-chop global electrical interconnects, including line inductance and the skin effect, both of which impose significant additional constraints on future interconnects. View full abstract»

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  • Optical interconnects in systems

    Page(s): 750 - 757
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    Future enhancement of system performance will decreasingly rely on reduction in transistor dimensions. Rather, performance gains will increasingly come from improved hardware and software architectures and emerging technologies such as optical interconnects, which provide a new design space for system designers. It is possible that hybrid optoelectronic interconnects may revolutionize system implementation in the next decade. View full abstract»

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  • Optical interconnections within modern high-performance computing systems

    Page(s): 758 - 763
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    Optical technologies are ubiquitous in telecommunications networks and systems, providing multiple wavelength channels of transport at 2.5-10 Gbps data rates over single fiber-optic cables. Market pressures continue to drive the number of wavelength channels per fiber and the data rate per channel. This trend will continue for many years to come as e-commerce grows and enterprises demand higher and reliable bandwidth over long distances. E-commerce, in turn, is driving the growth curves for single-processor and multiprocessor performance in data-base transaction and Web-based servers. Ironically, the insatiable taste for enterprise network bandwidth, which has driven up the volume and pushed down the price of optical components for telecommunications, is simultaneously stressing computer system bandwith-increasing the need for new interconnection schemes-and providing for the first time commercial opportunities for optical components in computer systems. This paper will center primarily on the use of optical interconnects within commercial digital computing systems, particularly workstations and servers, and will address mainly board-board interconnects within a single cabinet or box. We feel this is the most likely utilization of optics in commercial computer systems for the next decade. We will also provide a practical analysis of inter-and intrachip optical interconnects and the difficulties they face in real systems. View full abstract»

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  • Smart-pixel array technology for free-space optical interconnects

    Page(s): 764 - 768
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    This paper describes a smart-pixel array technology that is being developed at Honeywell for use in chip-to-chip optical interconnections based on free-space optics. The technology combines large-scale, two-dimensional arrays of optoelectronic and microoptical elements with VLSI electronics to enable high-density, high-speed interchip input/output capability in the optical domain. We have demonstrated prototype modules with 16/spl times/16 and 32/spl times/32 emitter and interleaved detector arrays. View full abstract»

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  • Plastic microoptical interconnection modules for parallel free-space interand intra-MCM data communication

    Page(s): 769 - 779
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    We design and fabricate a prototype scalable multichannel free-space interconnection module with the potential for Tb/s/spl middot/cm/sup 2/ aggregate bit-rate capacity over inter- and intra-MCM interconnection distances. The component is fabricated in a high quality optical plastic, PMMA, using deep proton lithography, an ion-based rapid prototyping technology. As a feasibility demonstration, data communication is achieved at 622 Mb/s per channel with a bit error rate smaller than 10/sup -13/ for 16 channels with an interchannel crosstalk lower than -22 dB. We perform a sensitivity analysis for misalignments and fabrication errors and study the fabrication issues of these components with injection molding techniques. Finally, we provide evidence that these modules can be mass fabricated with the required precision. View full abstract»

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  • Fully embedded board-level guided-wave optoelectronic interconnects

    Page(s): 780 - 793
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    A fully embedded board-level guided-wave optical interconnection is presented to solve the packaging compatibility problem. All elements involved in providing high-speed optical communications within one board are demonstrated. Experimental results on a 12-channel linear array of thin-film polyimide waveguides, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) (42 /spl mu/m), and silicon MSM photodetectors (10 /spl mu/m) suitable for a fully embedded implementation are provided. Two types of waveguide couplers, titled gratings and 45/spl deg/ total internal reflection mirrors, are fabricated within the polyimide waveguides. Thirty-five to near 100% coupling efficiencies are experimentally confirmed. By doing so, all the real estate of the PC board surface are occupied by electronics, and therefore one only observes the performance enhancement due to the employment of optical interconnection but does not worry about the interface problem between electronic and optoelectronic components unlike conventional approaches. A high speed 1-48 optical clock signal distribution network for Cray T-90 super computer is demonstrated. A waveguide propagation loss of 0.21 dB/cm at 850 nm was experimentally confirmed for the 1-48 clock signal distribution and for point-to-point interconnects. The feasibility of using polyimide as the interlayer dielectric material to form hybrid three-dimensional interconnects is also demonstrated. Finally, a waveguide bus architecture is presented, which provides a realistic bidirectional broadcasting transmission of optical signals. Such a structure is equivalent to such IEEE standard bus protocols as VME bus and FutureBus. View full abstract»

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  • Board-level 2-D data-capable optical interconnection circuits using polymer fiber-image guides

    Page(s): 794 - 805
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    We present various board-level optical circuits capable of transmitting large-bandwidth two-dimensional (2-D) parallel data for intracomputer optical interconnect applications. The backbone technology of these circuits is a polymer fiber-image guide that can transmit optical data generated from an optoelectronic transmitter array such as a 2D vertical cavity surface-emitting laser array. We demonstrate both point-to-point circuits and circuits incorporating nodes with splitting and combining capabilities. We also present main performance characteristics, such as insertion loss and spatial resolution, and discuss other advantages and limitations of the new optical circuit technology. View full abstract»

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  • Optical interconnects at the chip and board level: challenges and solutions

    Page(s): 806 - 818
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    This paper discusses short-distance optical interconnects for general-purpose distributed digital systems. We describe the technology required to optically interconnect elements that are distributed across multiple packaging layers. This includes chips on a board, boards in a backplane, and shelves within a bay. The focus of this paper will be on technology capable of supporting high-data-rate, two-dimensional, optical communication using two-dimensional parallel optical interconnects. View full abstract»

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  • Description and evaluation of the FAST-Net smart pixel-based optical interconnection prototype

    Page(s): 819 - 828
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    The design, packaging approach, and experimental evaluation of the free-space accelerator for switching terabit networks (FAST-Net) smart-pixel-based optical interconnection prototype are described. FAST-Net is a high-throughput data-switching concept that uses a reflective optical system to globally interconnect a multichip array of smart pixel devices. The three-dimensional optical system links each chip directly to every other with a dedicated bidirectional parallel data path. in the experiments, several prototype smart-pixel devices were packaged on a common multichip module (MCM) with interchip registration accuracies of 5-10 /spl mu/m. The smart-pixel arrays (SPAs) consist of clusters of oxide-confined vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers and photodetectors that are solder bump-bonded to Si integrated circuits. The optoelectronic elements are arranged within each cluster on a checkerboard pattern with 125-/spl mu/m pitch. The experimental global optical interconnection module consists of a mirror and lens array that are precisely aligned to achieve the required interchip parallel connections between up to 16 SPAs. Five prototype SPAs were placed on the MCM to allow the evaluation of a variety of interchip links. Measurements verified the global link pattern across several devices on the MCM with high optical resolution and registration. No crosstalk between adjacent channels was observed after alignment. The I/O density and efficiency results suggest that a multi-terabit switch module that incorporates global optical interconnection to overcome conventional interconnection bottlenecks is feasible. View full abstract»

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  • Reconfigurable optical interconnections for parallel computing

    Page(s): 829 - 837
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    We describe our research on optically interconnected optoelectronic parallel computing systems. Our architecture is based on a multilayer pipeline of two-dimensional optoelectronic device arrays in which each pixel is composed of an optical input channel, a general-purpose programmable processor, local memory, and a surface-emitting laser diode as an optical output channel. Free-space optics provides parallel, global communication between layers in the pipeline via optical paths that are dynamically reconfigurable. Design and initial realization of a system are described. View full abstract»

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  • Optical interconnects for neural and reconfigurable VLSI architectures

    Page(s): 838 - 848
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    The increasing transistor density in very large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits and the limited pin member in the off-chip communication lead to a situation described as interconnect crisis in micro-electronics. Optoelectronic VLSI (OE-VLSI) circuits using short-distance optical interconnects and optoelectronic devices like microlaser, modulator, and detector arrays for optical off-chip sending and receiving offer a technology to overcome this crisis. However, in order to exploit efficiently the potential of thousands of optical off-chip interconnects, an appropriate VLSI architecture is required. We show for the example of neural and reconfigurable VLSI architectures that fine-grain architectures fulfill these requirements. An OE-VLSI circuit realization based on multiple quantum-well modulators functioning as two-dimensional (2-D) optical input/output (I/O) interface for the chip is presented. Due to the parallel optical interface, and improvement of two to three orders of magnitude in the throughput performance is possible compared to all-electronic solutions. For the optical interconnects, a planar-integrated free-space optical system has been designed leading to an optical multichip module. Such a system has been fabricated and experimentally characterized. Furthermore, we designed an manufactured fiber arrays, which will be the core element for a convenient test station for the 2-D optoelectronic I/O interface of OE-VLSI circuits. View full abstract»

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  • Optical interconnections for parallel and distributed computing

    Page(s): 849 - 855
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    This paper reports the application of optical interconnections to a parallel an distributed computing system in the form of a calibration-free 64-Gbps/board parallel optical interconnection sub-system mounted directly on the four-CPU processor board of a newly developed parallel-processing machine, "RWC-1". The sub-system is composed of eight parallel optical module/single-chip link large-scale integrated circuit pairs. The subsystem successfully transmitted parallel data for a variety of link lengths (between 1 m and 1 km), and with deskewing and synchronizing functions, phase-matching calibration for link lengths is automatic. Further, a method is described for the simplified merging of optical interconnections into electronic systems. View full abstract»

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  • Optical fiber interconnection for the scalable parallel computing system

    Page(s): 856 - 863
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    In this paper, we discuss the optical fiber interconnection technologies applied in the two types of parallel processing systems: 1) a backplane interconnection in a parallel processor array system and 2) a computing cluster network. We have set up a parallel processor array system using optical fiber to make point-to-point interconnection between processor elements and are developing a low-cost virtual parallel optical fiber interconnection link (VPOFLink) complying with peripheral component interconnect (PCI) local bus specifications for the computing cluster. VPOFLink is integrated with the popular PCI bus interface in order to make the link hold the same bandwidth as that of the PCI bus. It was fabricated as an available peripheral device that can been inserted into the bus slots of commercial computers directly and can operate under the control of PCI bus. Also in this paper, we demonstrate the optical fiber link for a ring network and the architecture of the ring network. View full abstract»

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  • Crafting technology leaders for the 21st century

    Page(s): 864 - 867
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    A number of engineering students have made lifestyle and career path choices that have taken them down a road less traveled, applying their engineering skills and knowledge to the crafting of new businesses. In some cases, these entrepreneurial engineers have become wildly successful by the most popular measures-fame and fortune. In nearly all cases, they have had the satisfaction of pursuing a dream and taking charge of their own destiny. This paper shares some of the lessons learned in an educational course over the past seven years, which hopefully has some relevance for the twenty-first century engineer. View full abstract»

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  • Crompton-a different English engineer

    Page(s): 868 - 870
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    Gives a short account of the life of Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton, an English electrical pioneer who promoted direct current electricity supply systems. View full abstract»

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North Carolina State University