Role of Optics in Very High Throughput Communication for Parallel Processing

Thursday, September 9, 1999 - 9:30am - 10:00am
Keller 3-180
J. Allen Cox (Honeywell)
Next generation advanced information processing systems, such as those used for real-time synthetic aperture radar imaging and intensive medical image processing, will require large aggregate computational and communication bandwidths. Since most of these systems are assembled from multiprocessor, memory, and special-purpose digital signal processing chips, the ideal communication bandwidths between them should be ~Terabit/s. Optical parallel data links and free-space switches provide a realistic path to achieve these required data rates. The optical interconnection fabric is in turn enabled by dense smart pixel arrays consisting of arrays of vcsels and photodetectors integrated with arrays of micro-optics and further integrated with silicon CMOS circuitry. [VCSEL = vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser.] I will describe several programs at Honeywell to develop the optoelectronic components, most notably the vcsels, as well as the major parallel data link and switch modules. I'll also try to identify several challenging mathematical problems that have been spawned by these technological developments.