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FRESCO: FREquency Stabilized Coherent Optical Low-Energy WDM DC Interconnects

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,750,000
Location: 
Santa Barbara, CA
Project Term: 
02/19/2019 to 02/18/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Data center interconnects (DCIs) are the highways that enable data to travel inside and between data centers. They are webs of fiber optic links that connect large numbers of Ethernet application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips. As Hyperscale data centers, which support thousands of physical servers and millions of virtual machines, become prevalent, the ASIC chips are predicted to scale from 6.4 Tbps today to an unprecedented 102.4 Tbps. This activity will strain DCI energy consumption and physical engineering solutions. Transformative approaches are needed.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
The University of California-Santa Barbara will develop a low power, low-cost solution to overcome power and bandwidth scaling limitations facing hyperscale data centers and exponential growth in global data traffic. The FRESCO transceiver leverages advances in fundamental laser physics and photonic integration to enable terabit, coherent optical data transmission inside data centers through chip-scale spectrally pure and ultra-stable wavelength division multiplexed laser light sources . The project outcome will be an integrated photonic package capable of connecting to 100 terabit-per-second networking switches over coherent optical short-reach data center fiber links. This effort could transform the way data centers, data center interconnects, and terabit Ethernet switches are built, drastically reducing their global energy consumption.
Potential Impact: 
The University of California-Santa Barbara will enable 102.4 trillion bits per second (Tbps) transmitted over multiple light wavelengths in the data center interconnect (DCI). This project will facilitate 10 times more energy efficiency, 10 times less cost and complexity over current data transmission technologies, and:
Security: 
Maintain U.S. leadership in the multibillion-dollar DCI market
Environment: 
Reduce energy per bit requirements by over an order of magnitude over next generation technologies, resulting in a highly energy efficient solution
Economy: 
Significantly reduce DCI operational expenses
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. James Zahler
Project Contact: 
Prof. Daniel Blumenthal
Release Date: 
11/15/2018