Author ORCID Identifier
Year of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Ishan Thakkar
The long-standing technological pillars for computing systems evolution, namely Moore's law and Von Neumann architecture, are breaking down under the pressure of meeting the capacity and energy efficiency demands of computing and communication architectures that are designed to process modern data-centric applications related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Internet-of-Things (IoT). In response, both industry and academia have turned to 'more-than-Moore' technologies for realizing hardware architectures for communication and computing. Fortunately, Silicon Photonics (SiPh) has emerged as one highly promising ‘more-than-Moore’ technology. Recent progress has enabled SiPh-based interconnects to outperform traditional electrical interconnects, offering advantages like high bandwidth density, near-light speed data transfer, distance-independent bitrate, and low energy consumption. Furthermore, SiPh-based electro-optic (E-O) computing circuits have exhibited up to two orders of magnitude improvements in performance and energy efficiency compared to their electronic counterparts. Thus, SiPh stands out as a compelling solution for creating high-performance and energy-efficient hardware for communication and computing applications. Despite their advantages, SiPh-based interconnects face various design challenges that hamper their reliability, scalability, performance, and energy efficiency. These include limited optical power budget (OPB), high static power dissipation, crosstalk noise, fabrication and on-chip temperature variations, and limited spectral bandwidth for multiplexing. Similarly, SiPh-based E-O computing circuits also face several challenges. Firstly, the E-O circuits for simple logic functions lack the all-electrical input handling, raising hardware area and complexity. Secondly, the E-O arithmetic circuits occupy vast areas (at least 100x) while hardly achieving more than 60% hardware utilization, versus CMOS implementations, leading to high idle times, and non-amortizable area and static power overheads. Thirdly, the high area overhead of E-O circuits hinders them from achieving high spatial parallelism on-chip. This is because the high area overhead limits the count of E-O circuits that can be implemented on a reticle-size limited chip. My research offers significant contributions to address the aforementioned challenges. For SiPh-based interconnects, my contributions focus on enhancing OPB by mitigating crosstalk noise, addressing the optical non-linearity-related issues through the development of Silicon-on-Sapphire-based photonic interconnects, exploring multi-level signaling, and evaluating various device-level design pathways. This enables the design of high throughput (>1Tbps) and energy-efficient (<1pJ/bit) SiPh interconnects. In the context of SiPh-based E-O circuits, my contributions include the design of a microring-based polymorphic E-O logic gate, a hybrid time-amplitude analog optical modulator, and an indium tin oxide-based silicon nitride microring modulator and a weight bank for neural network computations. These designs significantly reduce the area overhead of current E-O computing circuits while enhancing the energy-efficiency, and hardware utilization.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Karempudi, Venkata Sai Praneeth, "Reinventing Integrated Photonic Devices and Circuits for High Performance Communication and Computing Applications" (2024). Theses and Dissertations--Electrical and Computer Engineering. 197.
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