A Universal Multi-Hierarchy Figure-of-Merit for On-Chip Computing and Communications [article]

Shuai Sun, Vikram K. Narayana, Armin Mehrabian, Tarek El-Ghazawi, Volker J. Sorger
2016 arXiv   pre-print
Continuing demands for increased compute efficiency and communication bandwidth have led to the development of novel interconnect technologies with the potential to outperform conventional electrical interconnects. With a plurality of interconnect technologies to include electronics, photonics, plasmonics, and hybrids thereof, the simple approach of counting on-chip devices to capture performance is insufficient. While some efforts have been made to capture the performance evolution more
more » ... ely, they eventually deviate from the observed development pace. Thus, a holistic figure of merit (FOM) is needed to adequately compare these recent technology paradigms. Here we introduce the Capability-to-Latency-Energy-Amount-Resistance (CLEAR) FOM derived from device and link performance criteria of both active optoelectronic devices and passive components alike. As such CLEAR incorporates communication delay, energy efficiency, on-chip scaling and economic cost. We show that CLEAR accurately describes compute development including most recent machines. Since this FOM is derived bottom-up, we demonstrate remarkable adaptability to applications ranging from device-level to network and system-level. Applying CLEAR to benchmark device, link, and network performance against fundamental physical compute and communication limits shows that photonics is competitive even for fractions of the die-size, thus making a case for on-chip optical interconnects.
arXiv:1612.02486v1 fatcat:52skd2goe5cffj6pqikowink4i