The Role of Photonics in Future Computing and Data Centers

S. J. Ben YOO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E97-B   No.7   pp.1272-1280
Publication Date: 2014/07/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E97.B.1272
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Joint Special Section on Opto-electronics and Communications for Future Optical Network)
computing,  data centers,  optical interconnects,  silicon photonics,  

Full Text: FreePDF(4.3MB)

This paper covers new architectures, technologies, and performance benchmarking together with prospects for high productivity and high performance computing enabled by photonics. The exponential and sustained increases in computing and data center needs are driving the demands for exascale computing in the future. Power-efficient and parallel computing with balanced system design is essential for reaching that goal as should support ∼billion total concurrencies and ∼billion core interconnections with ∼exabyte/second bisection bandwidth. Photonic interconnects offer a disruptive technology solution that fundamentally changes the computing architectural design considerations. Optics provide ultra-high throughput, massive parallelism, minimal access latencies, and low power dissipation that remains independent of capacity and distance. In addition to the energy efficiency and many of the fundamental physical problems, optics will bring high productivity computing where programmers can ignore locality between billions of processors and memory where data resides. Repeaterless interconnection links across the entire computing system and all-to-all massively parallel interconnection switch will significantly transform not only the hardware aspects of computing but the way people program and harness the computing capability. This impacts programmability and productivity of computing. Benchmarking and optimization of the configuration of the computing system is very important. Practical and scalable deployment of photonic interconnected computing systems are likely to be aided by emergence of athermal silicon photonics and hybrid integration technologies.