Photonics in the Package for Extreme Scalability (PIPES)

Computing systems are critically challenged to meet the performance of data intensive applications across multiple platforms particularly driven by the explosive growth in data analytics. Data movement, dominated by energy costs and limited ‘chip-escape’ bandwidth densities, is perhaps the singular roadblock to these systems’ scalability. Integrated silicon photonics with deeply embedded optical connectivity is on the cusp of enabling revolutionary data movement and extreme performance capabilities. The Embedded Photonics ultra-bandwidth dense optical interconnect (EmPho) project under the DARPA PIPES program embraces extreme parallelism for realizing >10 Tbps links and Pb/s scalable aggregate throughput while driving down the limits of energy/bit consumption by eliminating nearly all superfluous signaling and thermal control. The EmPho interconnect builds on massive parallelism of optimized tributary data rate transmission enabling entirely SERDES-less operation, hence reducing energy costly receivers and signal processing. Minimization of energy consumption is further driven through a systematic design robust to thermal and fabrication variations.


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