Chip-to-board interconnects for high-performance computing
Super computing is reaching out to ExaFLOP processing speeds, creating fundamental challenges for the way that computing systems are designed and built. One governing topic is the reduction of power used for operating the system, and eliminating the excess heat generated from the system. Current thinking sees optical interconnects on most interconnect levels to be a feasible solution to many of the challenges, although there are still limitations to the technical solutions, in particular with regard to manufacturability. This paper explores drivers for enabling optical interconnect technologies to advance into the module and chip level. The introduction of optical links into High Performance Computing (HPC) could be an option to allow scaling the manufacturing technology to large volume manufacturing. This will drive the need for manufacturability of optical interconnects, giving rise to other challenges that add to the realization of this type of interconnection. This paper describes a solution that allows the creation of optical components on module level, integrating optical chips, laser diodes or PIN diodes as components much like the well known SMD components used for electrical components. The paper shows the main challenges and potential solutions to this challenge and proposes a fundamental paradigm shift in the manufacturing of 3-dimensional optical links for the level 1 interconnect (chip package).