Edinburgh project seeks answer to memory latency - Embedded.com

Edinburgh project seeks answer to memory latency

LONDON — A team of from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have applied an innovative optoelectronic technology to overcome one of the biggest problems facing computer systems today — memory latency.

Memory latency, or the time a computer takes to access data stored in its memory is an obstacle which, according to researchers from Heriot-Watt University can only be remedied by optoelectronic technology.

A recent project underway at the University, known as HOLMS, led by Professor John Snowdon, is in the process of trying to bridge the gap between processor speed and memory band width, by making the use of board-level optical interconnection in information systems practical and economical.

Project HOLMS aims to make this technology compatible with standard electronic assembly processes. The project focuses on two key areas of optoelectronic technology: a seamless optomechanical interface to commercial parallel-fibre arrays, and low-cost optical waveguides that could be integrated into conventional printed circuit boards (PCBs).

The HOLMS project has already had success in integrating fibre-optics with free-space technologies and optical PCBs to form a three-part optoelectronic interface. It has developed two working models to demonstrate the functional aspects of the new technologies. In addition, several industrial partners, including PCB manufacturer, IFLA, Siemens of Germany and Thales in France have incorporated results from the project into their own product development.

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