High Performance Computing
Supercomputers have all of the challenges of data centers and more. In addition to the requirements of lower power consumption and smaller foot print, supercomputers require board mounted optical engines. This allows for the optics to connect directly to the CPU and router chips. Instead of the optics being plugged into the face of the rack (as in data centers), optical engines are directly mounted on the board itself. Distributing optics throughout the board itself improves density by removing the space for copper traces. It reduces power consumption because optical interconnects consume less power than electrical ones.
Optical Engines built on silicon photonics have many advantages over VCSEL based solutions. VCSEL solutions require costly MMF parallel fiber arrays to support 100 Gb/s pipes; silicon photonics solutions with WDM can use a single, low-cost SMF fiber for 100 Gb/s or more. For 100 Gb/s pipes, VCSEL solutions are limited to 100 meters or so of reach, while silicon photonics solutions can reach 10 km or more. VCSELS have no easy path to 400 Gb/s and 1 Tb/s pipes; silicon photonics solutions can readily scale to 1 Tb/s and more.