Vol. 19, No. 31
May 18, 2000
|The emphasis of our research is to boldly go where no one has gone before," Fouad Kiamilev said.
Kiamilev, electrical and computer engineering, and his research group are doing just that by developing computer circuits that will accommodate next generation optical networks, expanding bandwidth beyond anything available today.
Kiamilev's circuits convert electronic signals to optical signals that transmit data within and between networked computer devices at speeds in excess of 10 gigabits per second, 100 times faster than today.
"This team is one of the few university groups in the world that is actually building integrated circuits and network interface cards (NICs) for networks faster than 10 gigabits per second," he said.
"Ten gigabit and higher computer links are essential to do away with 'denial of service' and network congestion problems since they would enable a company's network to handle 100,000 simultaneous orders instead of 10,000" Kiamilev said. "Denial of service" is an e-commerce term describing
Bandwidth expansion is high on every cyberphile's wish list but especially for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has spent billions of dollars on bandwidth technologies.
Each computer must have an NIC to receive and transmit network data traffic. The data is sent from one computer to another through devices called switches. Kiamilev and his research group are designing circuits for NIC and switches that convert electricity to light, producing optical signals that greatly expand bandwidth to accommodate 100 times more information.
Kiamilev's circuits are so cutting edge that he has received funding from DARPA to be part of six research consortia led by Raytheon, Lockheed, Honeywell, TRW, University of California at San Diego and George Mason University. Funding for these projects exceeds $40 million, with $2 million going to the UD team.
For the Honeywell consortium, UD researchers have demonstrated NICs that allow Internet packets to travel between server computers at speeds of 12 gigabits per second.
In Delaware, Kiamilev is working with W.L. Gore Inc. on a project that will demonstrate switching or optical interface speeds of 40 gigabits per second. This summer, the team will demonstrate this high-speed transmission link using Gore's network.
Kiamilev and his team call their research group CVORG for CMOS VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Optical Research Group.
CVORG works closely with another electrical and computer engineering group at UD headed by Dennis Prather, who is developing computer devices that form the structure for the optical signals that Kiamilev's circuits produce. This collaboration has enabled the two groups to jointly undertake highly advanced research projects.
Kiamilev joined the UD faculty last August. He was recruited from the University of North Carolina, bringing with him three graduate students, Jeremy Ekman, Ping Gui and Prem Chandramani, and two DARPA contracts. In nine months at UD, Kiamilev has attracted four more DARPA contracts with the fifth pending. In the fall, his number of graduate students will go from three to seven.
"The most rewarding aspect of my research work is to be able to train students in these exciting new technologies and then to see them succeed in their jobs. I hope to make an impact on undergraduate students at UD and to turn them onto this exciting field" Kiamilev said.