Photonic Integrated Networked Energy efficient datacenter (PINE)

The Photonic Integrated Networked Energy efficient datacenter (PINE) vision is built on three main innovation pillars: i) redesigning the architecture based on disaggregation of compute and memory resources over a unified photonic interconnect with bandwidth steering capabilities to improve resource allocation throughout the datacenter, ii) introducing a concept of embedded datacenter nodes consisting of various Multi-Chip Modules (MCMs) interconnected in a unique interposer platform via high bandwidth density integrated photonics, and iii) developing a new generation of ultra-energy efficient silicon photonic links. The architecture is designed to support diverse emerging data-intensive workloads while optimizing energy efficiency.

The recent explosive growth in data analytics applications that rely on machine and deep learning techniques are seismically changing the landscape of datacenter architectures. These techniques, used for example in streaming video object recognition, rely on graphics processing units (GPU) and many core (CPU) technologies whose need for intense performance is pushing current datacenter interconnect architectures to their limits. The execution performance of these massive parallel architectures, determined by how data is moved among the numerous compute and memory resources, is dramatically affected by the growing energy consumption associated with the necessary movements of large data. Energy consumption dominated by the cost of data movement is now the driving factor of future datacenter scalability.

Photonic interconnect technologies have been proposed to address this critical data-movement challenge because of their well-known bandwidth density and energy efficiency advantages but system-wide energy-efficiency and performance gains cannot be attained by simple photonic one-to-one replacement of existing links and switches. Because interconnects in datacenters do not consume more than 20% of the overall power budget, even if a proposed interconnection network expended zero power, the datacenter global energy consumption would be only fractionally reduced. A deeper, more transformational architectural overhaul is required to realize substantial global datacenter power reduction – by more than 2X – while simultaneously addressing the exploding communication-intensive demands of emerging workloads.

Our proposed Photonic Integrated Networked Energy efficient datacenter (PINE) architecture unleashes the truly transformational impact of photonics to create a new paradigm for future ultra-energy efficient datacenters.