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Ever since industry has turned to parallelism instead of frequency scaling to improve processor performance, multicore processors have continued to scale to larger and larger numbers of cores. Some believe that multicores will have 1000 cores or more by the middle of the next decade. However, their promise of increased performance will only be reached if their inherent scaling challenges are overcome. One such major scaling challenge is the viability of efficient cache coherence with large numbers of cores. Meanwhile, recent advances in nanophotonic device manufacturing are making CMOS-integrated optics a reality - interconnect technology which can provide significantly more bandwidth at lower power than conventional electrical analogs.
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