Abstract

Breakthroughs in silicon photonics are changing the economics of network hardware and are enabling new directions in computer networking, compelling us to reexamine our previous assumptions regarding computer and network architectures. One such area that bears further study is the choice of network topology in a world where the distance between nodes is largely irrelevant, and where there is no inherent economic advantage to spatial locality. Network architects should be able to select topologies based on their merits and not merely from tradition. Combined with relaxed system-level packaging constraints, silicon photonics will likely lead to future datacenter architectures that look very different from today’s solutions. We present the design and implementation of Topanga, a packet switch optoASIC with the requisite technologies to free datacenter topologies from constraints induced by limited electrical reach. By means of our platform for integrating silicon photonics inside the package, Topanga provides optical I/O with lower energy per bit at lower cost per port than existing solutions.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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