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Circuit-Switched Memory Access in Photonic Interconnection Networks for High-Performance Embedded Computing

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Executive Summary

As advancements in CMOS technology trend toward ever increasing core counts in chip multiprocessors for high-performance embedded computing, the discrepancy between on- and off-chip communication bandwidth continues to widen due to the power and spatial constraints of electronic off-chip signaling. Silicon photonics-based communication offers many advantages over electronics for network-on-chip design, namely power consumption that is effectively agnostic to distance traveled at the chip- and board-scale, even across chip boundaries. In this paper, the authors develop a design for a photonic network-on-chip with integrated DRAM I/O interfaces and compare its performance to similar electronic solutions using a detailed network-on-chip simulation.

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