Using Ptolemy for Simulation of Free Space Optoelectronic Information Processing Systems

Prof. Steven P. Levitan
Dept. of Electrical Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

November 14, 1996
Hogan Room, 531 Cory Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.


Free space optoelectronic information processing systems (FS-OIPS) will become key components of the next generation of computers and communications networks. Currently the "state of the art" for design and analysis of these systems is to use a set of ad-hoc procedures to generate end-to-end system performance estimates based on empirical characterizations of the component devices. This painstaking technique results in rough approximations, which must then be refined by actually prototyping each of the particular systems under consideration. As a result, while many systems have been proposed, few FS-OIPS systems have been designed and fewer still have been built. This is in sharp contrast to the growth of rapid prototyping systems in the electronic (VLSI) domain, where the path from concept to system is often as short as a few weeks.

To address this problem, we are developing a suite of design tools that are capable of modeling optoelectronic systems in order to exploit the potential of emerging optoelectronic devices. These tools allow system designers to perform trade-offs between technological and architectural solutions to design problems by using a combination of physical, functional and parametric models. Further, the use of models that can be shared by system and device designers provides them with a methodology for interaction that will enable advances in both system and component performance. With these tools, designers will be able to perform the trade-offs, optimizations, and technology choices necessary to realize high-quality systems without resorting to expensive fabrication, testing, and iteration using hardware prototypes.


Steven P. Levitan is the Wellington C. Carl Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He received the B.S. degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1972. From 1972 to 1977 he worked for Xylogic Systems designing hardware for computerized text processing systems. He received his M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1984), both in Computer Science, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. From 1984 to 1986 he was an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. During that time he also worked for Digital Equipment Corporation and Viewlogic Systems as a consultant in HDL simulation and synthesis. In 1987 he joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. He is on the Editorial Boards of IEEE Transactions on VLSI and ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems. His research interests include VLSI architectures, optoelectronic computing systems, parallel algorithm design, and HDL simulation and synthesis for VLSI. He is a member of ACM, OSA, and a senior member of IEEE/CS.