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Proceedings Paper

Chip-scale integrated optical interconnects: a key enabler for future high-performance computing
Author(s): Michael Haney; Rohit Nair; Tian Gu
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Paper Abstract

High Performance Computing (HPC) systems are putting ever-increasing demands on the throughput efficiency of their interconnection fabrics. In this paper, the limits of conventional metal trace-based inter-chip interconnect fabrics are examined in the context of state-of-the-art HPC systems, which currently operate near the 1 GFLOPS/W level. The analysis suggests that conventional metal trace interconnects will limit performance to approximately 6 GFLOPS/W in larger HPC systems that require many computer chips to be interconnected in parallel processing architectures. As the HPC communications bottlenecks push closer to the processing chips, integrated Optical Interconnect (OI) technology may provide the ultra-high bandwidths needed at the inter- and intra-chip levels. With inter-chip photonic link energies projected to be less than 1 pJ/bit, integrated OI is projected to enable HPC architecture scaling to the 50 GFLOPS/W level and beyond - providing a path to Peta-FLOPS-level HPC within a single rack, and potentially even Exa-FLOPSlevel HPC for large systems. A new hybrid integrated chip-scale OI approach is described and evaluated. The concept integrates a high-density polymer waveguide fabric directly on top of a multiple quantum well (MQW) modulator array that is area-bonded to the Silicon computing chip. Grayscale lithography is used to fabricate 5 μm x 5 μm polymer waveguides and associated novel small-footprint total internal reflection-based vertical input/output couplers directly onto a layer containing an array of GaAs MQW devices configured to be either absorption modulators or photodetectors. An external continuous wave optical "power supply" is coupled into the waveguide links. Contrast ratios were measured using a test rider chip in place of a Silicon processing chip. The results suggest that sub-pJ/b chip-scale communication is achievable with this concept. When integrated into high-density integrated optical interconnect fabrics, it could provide a seamless interconnect fabric spanning the intra-

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 February 2012
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8267, Optoelectronic Interconnects XII, 82670X (2 February 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.910249
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Haney, Univ. of Delaware (United States)
Rohit Nair, Univ. of Delaware (United States)
Tian Gu, Univ. of Delaware (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8267:
Optoelectronic Interconnects XII
Alexei L. Glebov; Ray T. Chen, Editor(s)

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