Optical chiplet FPGA has 4Tbit/s connectivity

Optical chiplet FPGA has 4Tbit/s connectivity

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Ayar Labs has integrated its high bandwidth optical I/O with Intel’s 10nm Agilex FPGA for a package with a bandwidth of 4Tbit/s.

The optical FPGA is packaged in a PCIe card form factor and is demonstrating 5x current industry bandwidth at a power of 5pJ/bit and 20x lower latency of 5ns per chiplet plus the time of flight (TOF). The system will be on show at the Supercomputing 2023 exhibition next week.

The optical FPGA consists of two TeraPHY optical I/O chiplets that are each capable of 4 Tbit/s bi-directional bandwidth. These chiplets are connected to a 10 nm FPGA fabric die and the optical communication is powered by two SuperNova light sources supporting 64 optical channels of high-speed, error-free communication across eight fibres on each chiplet.

“We’re on the cusp of a new era in high performance computing as optical I/O becomes a ‘must have’ building block for meeting the exponentially growing, data-intensive demands of emerging technologies like generative AI,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs.

“Showcasing the integration of Ayar Labs’ silicon photonics and Intel’s cutting-edge FPGA technology at Supercomputing is a concrete demonstration that optical I/O has the maturity and manufacturability needed to meet these critical demands.”

“With Ayar Labs’ in-package optics coupled with our FPGA fabric die, we created I/O bandwidth over 4 Tbit/s, far greater than what is currently possible with electrical connections,” said Venkat Yadavalli, Intel Corporation’s VP and GM, Product Excellence Group.

“We’re looking well beyond 400G Ethernet with this capability. Optical interfaces like these have the potential to unlock huge advancements in high performance computing, AI, data centers, sensing, communications, edge, and more. Imagine what you could do with an optical interface FPGA communicating at over 4 Terabits per second.”

The optical I/O chiplets were developed on GlobalFoundries’ Fotonix monolithic silicon photonics platform with Intel’s FPGA and leading packaging process in a single package for high performance data centres computing systems.

A recent study by Hyperion Research found that users and vendors agree optical I/O is expected to be the highest impact technology to address HPC system architecture challenges over both the immediate (next two years) and near (four to six-year) term.

The study also found that 79% of HPC system and semiconductor vendors surveyed believe that disaggregation and composability of system resources will be a requirement of future systems, pointing to the need for optical I/O connectivity to support these new architectures.


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