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Interconnects and Exascale: An Interview with Intel Fellow, Shekhar Borkar.

The Exascale Report: Why don’t we start off at a very basic level. Let’s talk about the definition of interconnects. What do you mean when you talk about interconnects?

Borkar: So, you know Mike, interconnect means different things to different people – and interconnects start from inter-connecting two transistors on a chip – or on a die – all the way to connecting cities by means of fiber or wire – over distances of kilometers – so interconnects really span this entire spectrum – from micrometer to kilometers.
But now, let’s stick to HPC. HPC in the past, when you talked about interconnects – it really meant the traditional HPC interconnects such as the interconnect fabrics for supercomputers like meshes or butterflies – or whatever – whatever topology you can think of, but now, in this era – it’s a lot broader than just an interconnect fabric. When I say interconnect today, I mean an interconnect that connects transistors together, that connects cores together on the chip, that connects regions together on the board, and connects racks and board together. A tenth of a kilometer maybe is the largest distance I’m talking about – even less to micrometers – to me that’s an interconnect – how to move data around within these entities and over these distances.

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