Abstract

We present a novel, to our knowledge, architecture for parallel database processing called the multiwavelength optical content-addressable parallel processor (MW-OCAPP). The MW-OCAPP is designed to provide efficient parallel data retrieval and processing by means of moving the bulk of database operations from electronics to optics. It combines a parallel model of computation with the many-degrees-of-processing freedom that light provides. The MW-OCAPP uses a polarization and wavelength-encoding scheme to achieve a high level of parallelism. Distinctive features of the proposed architecture include (1) the use of a multiwavelength encoding scheme to enhance processing parallelism, (2) multicomparand word-parallel bit-parallel equality and magnitude comparison with an execution time independent of the data size or the word size, (3) the implementation of a suite of 11 database primitives, and (4) multicomparand two-dimensional data processing. The MW-OCAPP architecture realizes 11 relational database primitives: difference, intersection, union, conditional selection, maximum, minimum, join, product, projection, division, and update. Most of these operations execute in constant time, independent of the data size. We outline the architectural concepts and motivation behind the MW-OCAPP’s design and describe the architecture required for implementing the equality and intersection–difference processing cores. Additionally, a physical demonstration of the multiwavelength equality operation is presented, and a performance analysis of the proposed system is provided.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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