Broadcast and weight: An integrated network for scalable photonic spike processing

Alexander N. Tait, Mitchell A. Nahmias, Bhavin J. Shastri, Paul R. Prucnal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

313 Scopus citations


We propose an on-chip optical architecture to support massive parallel communication among high-performance spiking laser neurons. Designs for a network protocol, computational element, and waveguide medium are described, and novel methods are considered in relation to prior research in optical on-chip networking, neural networking, and computing. Broadcast-and-weight is a new approach for combining neuromorphic processing and optoelectronic physics, a pairing that is found to yield a variety of advantageous features. We discuss properties and design considerations for architectures for scalable wavelength reuse and biologically relevant organizational capabilities, in addition to aspects of practical feasibility. Given recent developments commercial photonic systems integration and neuromorphic computing, we suggest that a novel approach to photonic spike processing represents a promising opportunity in unconventional computing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6872524
Pages (from-to)4029-4041
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


  • Asynchronous circuits
  • Network topology
  • Neuromorphics
  • Optical computing
  • Optical interconnects
  • Photonic integrated circuits
  • Spiking neural networks
  • System analysis and design
  • WDM networks


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