Remco Stoffer obtained his PhD in numerical modeling of photonics at the University of Twente in 2001. He then joined Kymata, which became Alcatel Optronics and then C2V, as a numerical engineer. In 2003, he was involved in the founding of PhoeniX Software, which was acquired by Synopsys in 2018. He has worked on simulation and layout algorithms as well as CAD flows for photonics and electro-optical co-design. He is now the product manager for OptoCompiler.
The adoption of PICs in datacenter and HPC infrastructure is primarily driven by (i) accelerated growth in traffic from high-throughput applications like AI/ML (ii) flattening of networks to support high-speed, low-latency operations (iii) disaggregation of computational resources, and (iv) the promise of greener operations. Advances in electrical interconnects to address these concerns have arguably remained reactive and slow. Recently published electrical interconnect standards, namely, the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Gen6 and Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) Gen1.1 make it more evident that their successful implementation requires photonics closer to the electronics. We cannot ignore challenges for PIC adoption which remain due to the technology gaps for viable on-chip laser sources, design tools gaps for enabling multi-die and 3DIC solutions, and packaging, reliability, and serviceability concerns for near- and co-packaged optics. This talk aims to take a balanced view of the challenges and opportunities for widespread adoption of PICs in datacenter and HPC infrastructure.