Manycore processor networks with monolithic integrated CMOS photonics

TitleManycore processor networks with monolithic integrated CMOS photonics
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAsanović, K., Stojanovic V., Joshi P., Batten C., & Kwon Y. - J.
Conference Name29th Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO'09)
Date Published06/2009
Conference LocationBaltimore, MD

We present a new monolithic silicon photonics technology and its application to manycore processor-to-DRAM networks. Our technology implements photonic components in a standard bulk CMOS process reducing costs and improving opto-electrical coupling compared to other photonic technologies. Simulation and preliminary experimental results show an order of magnitude better energy-efficiency and bandwidth-density than off-chip electrical links in the same technology generation. Exploiting the advantages of both electrical and photonic interconnect, we propose a manycore processor-to-DRAM network based on a "local meshes to global switches" topology. We illustrate the advantages of the proposed network architecture using analytical models and simulations with synthetic traffic patterns, and also introduce a technique for implementing such networks with a ring-filter matrix. Our work shows the importance of a vertically integrated approach to turn the advantages of photonic devices into system-level benefits.