Silicon-Photonic Clos Networks for Global On-Chip Communication

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Executive Summary

Future manycore processors will require energy-efficient, high-throughput on-chip networks. Silicon-photonics is a promising new interconnect technology which offers lower power, higher bandwidth density, and shorter latencies than electrical interconnects. In this paper, the authors explore using photonics to implement low-diameter non-blocking crossbar and Clos networks. They use analytical modeling to show that a 64-tile photonic Clos network consumes significantly less optical power, thermal tuning power, and area compared to global photonic crossbars over a range of photonic device parameters.

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