An Intra-Chip Free-Space Optical Interconnect

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Executive Summary

Continued device scaling enables microprocessors and other Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) to increase their performance, functionality, and hence, complexity. Simultaneously, relentless scaling, if uncompensated, degrades the performance and signal integrity of on-chip metal interconnects. These systems have therefore become increasingly communications-limited. The communications-centric nature of future high performance computing devices demands a fundamental change in intra- and inter-chip interconnect technologies. Optical interconnect is a promising long term solution. However, while significant progress in optical signaling has been made in recent years, networking issues for on-chip optical interconnect still require much investigation.

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