The chances of optical computing are probably best if a large number of processing elements act in parallel. The efficiency of parallel processors depends, among other things, on the time it takes to communicate signals from one processor to any other processor. In an optical parallel processor one hopes to be able to transmit a signal from one processor to any other processor within only one cycle period, no matter how far apart the processors are. Such a global communications network is desirable especially for algorithms with global interactions. The fast Fourier algorithm is an example. We define a degree of globality and we show how speed and globality are related. Our result applies to a specific architecture based on spatial filtering.
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