The objective of HOLICS is to develop a hierarchical set of optical interconnects that deliver communication rates beyond those achievable with electrical interconnects, and to demonstrate and verify their benefits in a prototype implementation of a heterogeneous computer system.
The design of a hierarchical optically interconnected computing system demonstrator has been completed, based on an avionic information management system. The realization of the specific optoelectronic components, custom integrated circuits and optical pathway elements is underway, and first prototypes have been demonstrated.
The system to be developed will have three different processor clusters connected via an optical interconnect network consisting of an electronic switching fabric. A further optical network is used to connect the processors within each cluster, based on guided waves. Free-space interconnects between adjacent boards will be used in one of the clusters. The definition of appropriate protocols for the optical network will be given particular attention. The definitions will be based on existing protocols (eg EDS) and emerging standards (eg Fibre Channel).
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