Silicon Photonics is one of the most enticing next generation technologies which have the ability to reduce the power consumption of the system as well as improve the bandwidth.
Silicon Photonics- The next Gen technology:
In this new technology will rely on a method which uses silicon as the new optical medium between the chip-to-chip communications. In this way the data transmission is incredibly fast with improved power consumption and transmission when compared to the conventional copper wires. One of the main areas for research for HPC as well as computing operations is the silicon Photonics and this technology will be extremely critical for the long term development of supercomputing.
Reports also suggest that IBM has claimed that they have been able to make some advancement in the technology by means of integration of the silicon photonics in the same package similar to CPU.
Obstacles in development:
The adaptation of the chip packaging technology with the waveguides has been the biggest obstacles encountered by the team during the building of the silicon photonics on-package. The current Silicon photonics has the limitations as it places the transceivers and the equipments at the edge of the mother board. On the negative side they obstruct the wire routing through the package.
IBM was able to overcome this obstacle by means of developing a way that enables connections between polymer waveguides and silicon waveguides. They had to taper the silicon waveguides and carry on the alignment after that.
Impact on the customer’s hardware:
Even though the idea of using light for running the personal computer is years old, still there are no possible chances of getting hands on the consumer variations in the near future. The fact that HPC applications have requirements of power consumption and bandwidth consumption that copper wire will not be able to deliver anytime, encouraged the researchers to study the silicon optics at such a massive level. Companies who are looking for large scale computing will be capable of investing in the development cost of this technology.
Requirement of optics:
According to the draft released by the company, one exaflop will depend on aloft efficiency as well as increased bandwidth. Company stated that there is a requirement of photonic links which offers bulk some-more connectivity throughout the 1 mW per gigabit of bandwidth and also with a cost of 2.5 cents per gigabit, which is at present quoted at $10. The blueprint of the system highlights a stream state of silicon photonics technology, which is having a connector incorporated all through a house edge. Even though the new approach from IBM has been able to convert the silicon photonics array to a CPU package, still they have not tried integrating the silicon photonics array with the CPU.
Even though it might take some time for people to realize the potential of silicon photonics, it has a long way to go in the future. Since there are doubts about confederation of 3D chip stacking with silicon photonics, Intel might have to wait to build a apparatus on-package.