Reconfigurable Optical Networks Will Move Supercomputer Data 100X Faster

IEEE Spectrum

May 7, 2021

“Processors and optical networks operate at Terabits per second (Tbps), but [current] network interfaces used to transfer data in and out typically operate in gigabit per second ranges,” explains Seth Robertson, Chief Research Scientist with Peraton Labs (previously named Perspecta Labs) who has been co-leading the design of FLEET.

Part of his team’s solution is the development of Optical Network Interface Cards (O-NICs), which can be plugged into existing computer hardware. Whereas traditional network interface cards typically have one port, the newly designed O-NICs have two ports and can support data transfer among many different kinds of computer subcomponents. The O-NICs are connected to optical switches, which allow the system to quickly re-configure the flow of data as needed.

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