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Reconfigurable optical interconnects in distributed shared-memory systems

Tuesday, 24 February, 2009 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
IƱigo Artundo Martinez
phd defence

The overall goal of this thesis is to take a unified view of interconnect reconfigurability - on the physical building block level as well as on the system architecture and communication level. We focus on the interconnection networks found in Distributed Shared Memory multiprocessor systems, and augment them to integrate reconfiguration capabilities through photonic technologies. On the system level, we study how static network topologies, through the use of optics, can be reconfigured to better fit the interprocessor communication demands, thus giving many of the advantages of dynamic topologies. Our goal will be taking the benefits of wavelength reconfigurability found in optical telecom networks to a shorter range level, like the backplanes in commercial servers or among boards of a desktop computer. We identified slowly changing communication patterns (in the order of milliseconds) for which low speed switching optics can still be appropriate, and we propose therefore a reconfigurable architecture that makes use of them. On the building block level, we identify the potential advantages of optics as a mean of achieving a low-cost reconfigurable interconnection network and study the possible implementation technologies. We make a detailed study on the optical implementation of a proposed reconfigurable interconnect, and we reflect on the optimization of the fabrication processes involved in micro-optical components for board level interconnects. Finally, we aim at outlining a complete system architecture that takes advantage of optical reconfigurability and has the flexibility and cost efficiency required in future commercial applications.