Abstract

We extend the concept of optical content-addressable parallel processing [Appl. Opt. 31, 3241 (1992)] to a novel architecture designed specifically for the parallel and high-speed implementation of database operations called optical content-addressable parallel processor for relational database processing (OCAPPRP). An OCAPPRP combines a parallel model of computation, associative processing, with parallel and high-speed technology optics. The architecture is developed to provide optimal support for high-speed parallel equivalence (pattern matching) and relative-magnitude searches (greater than and lesser than). Distinctive features of the proposed architecture include (1) a two-dimensional match–compare unit for two-dimensional pattern matching, (2) constant-time retrieval of database entries, (3) an optical word and bit-parallel relative-magnitude single-step algorithm, and (4) the capability of constant-time sorting. Since relational database operations rely heavily on parallel equivalence or relative-magnitude searches, database processing is an excellent candidate for implementation on an OCAPPRP. The architecture delivers a speedup factor of n over conventional optical database architectures, where n is the number of rows in a database table. We present an overview of the architecture followed by its optical implementation. The representative relational database operations, intersection, and selection are outlined to illustrate the architecture’s potential for efficiently supporting high-speed database processing.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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