UCLA’s Maxx Tepper gives us a brief overview of the Ocean High-Throughput processor to be used in the upgrade of the real-time event selection system of the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC (Large Hadron Collider). The board incorporates Samtec FireFly™ optical cable assemblies. The project is part of the research program of the UCLA Physics and Astronomy Department, supported by the National Science Foundation.
The board receives data from 500 detectors and reconstructs particle trajectories in real-time, with a latency of the order of 100 nanoseconds. The board features a Xilinx Zynq® UltraScale+™ system on a chip (SOC) that supports up to 72 serial transceivers.
Since data from the CERN LHC is streamed continuously to the board, the link protocol support no package check and retransmission. Therefore, signal integrity is essential for low bit error rates that could affect data quality.
Samtec FireFly technology allows the system to overcome this challenge by providing excellent optical signal performance, allowing the implementation of very short traces in the PCB. Fifteen FireFly modules that reach rates up to 28 Gbps each are used, delivering an I/O bandwidth of approximately 3 Tbps.
Signal integrity results are also shown in the video, as captured by Xilinx’s integrated BER test. Each link consists of two FireFly modules and six meters of fiber. The transceivers are operating at 28 Gbps, and the FireFly clock and data recovery circuit is activated.
The test lasted for 24 hours and not a single error was observed in any of the Ocean links.
Samtec FireFly Micro Flyover System™ is the first interconnect system that gives a designer the flexibility of using micro footprint high-performance optical and low-cost copper interchangeably with the same connector system.
FireFly™ copper and optical cable systems provide the flexibility to achieve higher data rates to 28 Gbps, greater distances, they simplify board design, and enhance performance. They’re available in x4 and x12 designs, with a variety of end 2 options and heat sinks.
They are also available in extended temperature designs for military and industrial applications, in PCIe over fiber optical cable systems with Gen 4 data transfer rates, and PCIe over fiber adaptor cards that support transparent and non-transparent bridging.