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17 May 2010 Cycle-accurate evaluation of reconfigurable photonic networks-on-chip
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There is little doubt that the most important limiting factors of the performance of next-generation Chip Multiprocessors (CMPs) will be the power efficiency and the available communication speed between cores. Photonic Networks-on-Chip (NoCs) have been suggested as a viable route to relieve the off- and on-chip interconnection bottleneck. Low-loss integrated optical waveguides can transport very high-speed data signals over longer distances as compared to on-chip electrical signaling. In addition, with the development of silicon microrings, photonic switches can be integrated to route signals in a data-transparent way. Although several photonic NoC proposals exist, their use is often limited to the communication of large data messages due to a relatively long set-up time of the photonic channels. In this work, we evaluate a reconfigurable photonic NoC in which the topology is adapted automatically (on a microsecond scale) to the evolving traffic situation by use of silicon microrings. To evaluate this system's performance, the proposed architecture has been implemented in a detailed full-system cycle-accurate simulator which is capable of generating realistic workloads and traffic patterns. In addition, a model was developed to estimate the power consumption of the full interconnection network which was compared with other photonic and electrical NoC solutions. We find that our proposed network architecture significantly lowers the average memory access latency (35% reduction) while only generating a modest increase in power consumption (20%), compared to a conventional concentrated mesh electrical signaling approach. When comparing our solution to high-speed circuit-switched photonic NoCs, long photonic channel set-up times can be tolerated which makes our approach directly applicable to current shared-memory CMPs.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Christof Debaes, Iñigo Artundo, Wim Heirman, Jan Van Campenhout, and Hugo Thienpont "Cycle-accurate evaluation of reconfigurable photonic networks-on-chip", Proc. SPIE 7719, Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits II, 771916 (17 May 2010);


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