Abstract

We present an investigation of the architecture of an optoelectronic cache that can integrate terabit optical memories with the electronic caches associated with high-performance uniprocessors and multiprocessors. The use of optoelectronic-cache memories enables these terabit technologies to provide transparently low-latency secondary memory with frame sizes comparable with disk pages but with latencies that approach those of electronic secondary-cache memories. This enables the implementation of terabit memories with effective access times comparable with the cycle times of current microprocessors. The cache design is based on the use of a smart-pixel array and combines parallel free-space optical input–output to-and-from optical memory with conventional electronic communication to the processor caches. This cache and the optical memory system to which it will interface provide a large random-access memory space that has a lower overall latency than that of magnetic disks and disk arrays. In addition, as a consequence of the high-bandwidth parallel input–output capabilities of optical memories, fault service times for the optoelectronic cache are substantially less than those currently achievable with any rotational media.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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