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Primeur weekly 2018-02-26

Focus

The European Processor Initiative (EPI) to develop the processor that will be at the heart of the European exascale supercomputer effort ...

Quantum computing

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future ...

Developing reliable quantum computers: International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems ...

Programming on a silicon quantum chip ...

D-Wave locks in $20 million funding and completes prototype of next-gen quantum processor ...

Focus on Europe

Luxembourg joins the European supercomputer network PRACE ...

ICEI Public Information Event on the realisation of a federated HPC and data analytics infrastructure ...

Dutch eScience and Lorentz Centers launch Call to host workshop on digitally enhanced research ...

Middleware

Adaptive Computing announces release of Moab HPC Suite 9.1.2 ...

NCSA Assistant Director Dan Katz named BSSw Fellow ...

University of Nevada, Las Vegas' supercomputing boosted through new collaboration with Altair ...

Hardware

C-DAC focusing on cancer treatment using supercomputers as a tool ...

South-Korean Ministry of Science and Technology to announce Second National High-Performance Computing Fundamental Plan ...

IBM reveals novel energy-saving optical receiver with a new record of rapid power-on/off time ...

Computers learn to learn: Intel and researchers from Heidelberg and Dresden present three new neuromorphic chips ...

HPE helps U.S. Department of Defense to advance national defense capabilities ...

OCF deploys petascale Lenovo supercomputer at University of Southampton ...

HPE reports fiscal 2018 first quarter results ...

Ranovus announces general availability of its on-board optics and CFP2 direct detect transceiver products for 5G mobility and data centre interconnect applications ...

Mellanox appoints Steve Sanghi and Umesh Padval to Board of Directors ...

Applications

Supercomputers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high colour quality ...

AI companies to reuse crypto mining farms for deep learning in health care ...

Computer scientists and materials researchers collaborate to optimize steel classification ...

Boris Kaus receives ERC Consolidator Grant for his research in magmatic processes ...

Metabolic modelling becomes three-dimensional ...

Powerful supercomputer unlocks possibilities for tinier devices and affordable DNA sequencing ...

New Berkeley Lab algorithms create "Minimalist Machine Learning" that analyzes images from very little information ...

The Cloud

Adaptive Computing makes HPC Cloud strategies more accessible with the Moab/NODUS Cloud Bursting 1.1.0 release ...

USFlash

Gen-Z Consortium announces the public release of its Core Specification 1.0 ...

IBM reveals novel energy-saving optical receiver with a new record of rapid power-on/off time


This is a photo of the test-set-up (top) and the packaged receiver (bottom). Credit: Alessandro Cevrero.
22 Feb 2018 San Diego - With the increasing popularization of data centres and other bandwidth hungry interconnect applications, today's bandwidth growth of short-distance optical networks demands data transmission speeds of more than 100 Gb/s, calling for the development of energy-efficient, multi-channel optical links with fast data transfer rates.

Based on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (COMS) technology - a standard low-cost, high-volume chip manufacturing technique used for most processors and chips today - a group of researchers from IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland, together with a consortium working under the EU-funded project "ADDAPT", have demonstrated a novel optical receiver (RX) that can achieve an aggregate bandwidth of 160 Gb/s through four optical fibers. This is not only the fastest data transmission speed to date, but the newly developed optical receiver also features the link power-on/off functionality and can wake-up and achieve phase-lock in eight nanoseconds, the shortest switch time in record. They will present their innovation at OFC 2018, 11-15 March, San Diego, California, USA.

According to the researchers, the rapid power-on/off feature will enhance link utilization and greatly reduce energy consumption on a chip or in an optical interconnect system. Unlike many commercial optical transceivers that are always powered on regardless of transmission activity, the power here would only be used when data packets are transmitted through the optical link. The novel design, packaged with an 850-nanometer photodiode array, targets low-cost VCSEL-based optical links for data centre interconnects.

"This is the first optical an receiver that combines high-speed data transmission rate and rapid power-on and off functionality while being extremely low lower in the 'power-on' state (about 88 miliwatts)", stated Alessandro Cevrero, the primary author of the paper and a scientist of IBM Research Lab, Switzerland. Today, link utilization in data centres is less than ten percent for 99 percent of the links. This means only ten percent of the links' work time is actually used for transmitting user data, while the rest of the time is wasted by sending idle data packets that missing information. To improve power efficiency in optical interconnect system, the researchers developed the rapid on/off functionality for the receiver, so that links can be powered off during idle time and powered back on when the data is ready to be transmitted.

"Our design, for the first time, allows for the on/off switching of and optical link on a per-packet basis", Alessandro Cevrero stated. The switch-on time is only eight nanoseconds, which is shorter than the average length of time for an individual data packet in a typical network protocol transmitted at a speed of 160 Gb/s. "There were previous scientific attempts to turn off the links when there is no data, however the timescale to switch on and off the link was orders of magnitude longer than that of an individual data packet. To achieve shorter power-on, time at a very high data transmission speed is the key challenge."

To address this, Alessandro Cevrero's team designed an optical receiver with four identical channels associated with a proposed link protocol. The link protocol is equipped with self-developed smart analogue circuits that can rapidly align the receiver's clock with the arrival of the incoming data, and detects the optical signal sequences to rapidly turn the link system on and off.

The researchers then tested the receiver at 40 Gb/s second with a reference transmitter consisting of an 850-nanometer Mach-Zehnder modulator followed by a variable optical attenuator. They also performed power on/off experiments by generating an optical signal implementing the proposed link protocol. As a result, they observed correct power cycling across a 109 power cycle, and that the receiver operates error free at 40 Gb/s second yielding 160 Gb/s aggregated bandwidth over multi-mode fibers. The experimental data also showed that ten-percent link utilization corresponds to 85-percent power saving on the receiver.

Alessandro Cevrero noted that improving power efficiency of optical links enables scientists to build significantly faster, higher performance computer systems, since one can "cram" higher bandwidth in the same thermal budget of the package. Saving on energy consumption also helps reduce the carbon dioxide emission from the optical network, leading to greener optical communication systems.

The researchers' next step, Alessandro Cevrero said, is to validate a complete optical interconnect system by measuring the optical transmitter, as well as to increase the data transmission speed on the receiver side to 56 Gb/s per channel.

This work has been funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) project ADDAPT - Adaptive Data and Power Aware Transceivers for Optical Communications - grant 619197.

Source: The Optical Society

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2018-02-26

Focus

The European Processor Initiative (EPI) to develop the processor that will be at the heart of the European exascale supercomputer effort ...

Quantum computing

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future ...

Developing reliable quantum computers: International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems ...

Programming on a silicon quantum chip ...

D-Wave locks in $20 million funding and completes prototype of next-gen quantum processor ...

Focus on Europe

Luxembourg joins the European supercomputer network PRACE ...

ICEI Public Information Event on the realisation of a federated HPC and data analytics infrastructure ...

Dutch eScience and Lorentz Centers launch Call to host workshop on digitally enhanced research ...

Middleware

Adaptive Computing announces release of Moab HPC Suite 9.1.2 ...

NCSA Assistant Director Dan Katz named BSSw Fellow ...

University of Nevada, Las Vegas' supercomputing boosted through new collaboration with Altair ...

Hardware

C-DAC focusing on cancer treatment using supercomputers as a tool ...

South-Korean Ministry of Science and Technology to announce Second National High-Performance Computing Fundamental Plan ...

IBM reveals novel energy-saving optical receiver with a new record of rapid power-on/off time ...

Computers learn to learn: Intel and researchers from Heidelberg and Dresden present three new neuromorphic chips ...

HPE helps U.S. Department of Defense to advance national defense capabilities ...

OCF deploys petascale Lenovo supercomputer at University of Southampton ...

HPE reports fiscal 2018 first quarter results ...

Ranovus announces general availability of its on-board optics and CFP2 direct detect transceiver products for 5G mobility and data centre interconnect applications ...

Mellanox appoints Steve Sanghi and Umesh Padval to Board of Directors ...

Applications

Supercomputers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high colour quality ...

AI companies to reuse crypto mining farms for deep learning in health care ...

Computer scientists and materials researchers collaborate to optimize steel classification ...

Boris Kaus receives ERC Consolidator Grant for his research in magmatic processes ...

Metabolic modelling becomes three-dimensional ...

Powerful supercomputer unlocks possibilities for tinier devices and affordable DNA sequencing ...

New Berkeley Lab algorithms create "Minimalist Machine Learning" that analyzes images from very little information ...

The Cloud

Adaptive Computing makes HPC Cloud strategies more accessible with the Moab/NODUS Cloud Bursting 1.1.0 release ...

USFlash

Gen-Z Consortium announces the public release of its Core Specification 1.0 ...