Future Directions in Interconnect Optimization
Interconnect engineering has become a primary element of system architecture and system design. Future growth in system complexity will require continued innovation in interconnect technologies and interconnect optimization. The role of optical interconnects will grow, as photonic signaling is inherently faster and more energy-efficient in comparison with electrical signaling over metal wires. On-chip optical links may be employed for global signaling, requiring signal conversion upon entry and exit from on-chip networks within VLSI systems. However, regardless of the developments in optical interconnection, direct electrical signaling will remain the main interconnection method for electronic systems. Electrical signaling over conducting wires will still dominate interconnect speed, power, and noise in future nanoscale integrated systems. Technologies for stacking multiple layers of active silicon with interconnecting metal vias between the layers, known as 3D integrated circuits, will become pervasive and allow continued growth in complexity, beyond Moore scaling.
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