The optical switches use considerably less power and can facilitate large data rates, but they require extra effort to use as they must be first configured by moving microelectromechanical mirrors into place to establish the circuit.
BOLD will use a mix of both kinds of switches, Ng said, as well as a new kind of optical switch that works sans those moving mirrors. These switches will be created in a lab by Qianfan Xu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice.
“To make use of these three types of technology, we need an intelligent layer that can analyze data flow and demand, all the way up to the application layer, and dynamically allocate network resources in the most efficient way,” Ng said.
With BOLD, Rice will be able to conduct operations and research that require the generation, loading, caching, recalling, and modification of tens to hundreds of terabytes of Big Data.
Just 10 terabytes of data is about the same size as the Library of Congress’ entire print collection.
Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake.
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