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Here we introduce IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network), an initiative for future communications infrastructure to create a smarter world by using cutting-edge technologies like photonics and computing technologies.

Technology development roadmap for realizing the IOWN concept

Fig. 1. IOWN a technology development roadmap
Fig. 1. IOWN a technology development roadmap

In order to realize the IOWN concept, we will craft a concrete technology roadmap and promote technology development. We will formulate a reference system for the major technologies that compose IOWN, make a proposal to IOWN Global Forum, Inc. , and develop specifications.

High-capacity, low-latency data communication system (Layer 4 / Layer 3 Communication System Acceleration: CY2021, Technology for massive optical / wireless access capacity: CY2023)

In order to take full advantage of the large capacity of the All-Photonics Network, we will develop a new accelerated Layer 4 / Layer 3 communication method that that greatly reduces transfer time of large scale data compared to the conventional TCP / IP method, while reducing degradation of the maximum possible data transfer rate due to packet transmission delay. We will also work to develop high capacity optical and wireless access methods to respond to further growth of communication traffic.

Realizing Data-Centric ICT Infrastructure (CY2021)

As an essential component of the Cognitive Foundation, we will develop Cognitive Foundation Data Hub (CF Data Hub), which efficiently enables nodes (sensor nodes or AI analysis nodes) to exchange or share large data objects with low latency. We will also promote data-centric architecture that links a wide variety of networks and computing methods around this data hub.

Realizing Multipoint, Super High Speed, Low Latency Cloud Computing (CY2021)

In order to realize cloud computing infrastructure that spans seamlessly across multiple data centers, we will utilize the high speed and low latency of communications on the All-Photonics Network to develop high-speed distributed computing methods.

Dramatically improving energy efficiency of ICT infrastructure (CY2023)

We will develop photonic disaggregated computing technology, which significantly improves energy efficiency by simplifying data transmission paths while gradually converting data transmission between computing modules, between packages, and between chips from the conventional electric base to the new photonic base.

Overview of main initiatives

CF Data Hub and Data-Centric Architecture

Fig. 2. CF Data Hub and Data-Centric Architecture
Fig. 2. CF Data Hub and Data-Centric Architecture

CF Data Hub is a data exchange / shared infrastructure that consists of multiple servers distributed over a wide area. By accessing the nearest server, user nodes can transfer data at a high maximum transfer rate. Also, CF Data Hub provides a broker function and shared data area to efficiently realize many-to-many data sharing between nodes.

Access from user nodes to CF Data Hub enables various communication methods including IP / Non-IP. By doing this, we will break away from the conventional IP-based paradigm and realize a new "data centric" paradigm that links various systems, centering on data exchange / sharing methods that can support a wide array of communication methods. In particular, we will use high-speed Layer4 / Layer 3 communication methods for access from nodes on IOWN, and secure availability using a function-based network.

Photonic disaggregated computing

Fig. 3. Photonic disaggregated computing
Fig. 3. Photonic disaggregated computing

Photonic Disaggregated Computing is a new computing architecture that makes the shift from traditional server box-oriented computing infrastructure to boxless computing infrastructure, building on photonics-based data transmission paths.

By enabling each module, such as memory and AI computing devices, with photonic I / O (Input / Output) and connecting modules with a high-capacity and high-speed photonic data network, photonic disaggregated computing achieves highly flexible computing infrastructure. By dynamically combining modules according to computing demand, it also dramatically improves performance. Using NTT's optoelectronic integration technology, the inter-package and inter-chip data transmission process can be replaced with photonics even inside of modules, while also dramatically improving energy efficiency.

A brand new world

By following this roadmap to incorporate data-centric computing technology and disaggregated computing technology into the IOWN concept, we will accelerate creation of a natural cyber space in the era of the Smart World.

For example, AI control done by transmitting a large volume of data with low latency can realize system control that goes beyond the limits of human perception and reflexes. By coordinating a vast number of AI systems, we can realize overall optimization on the scale of society, as well as prediction of the future through large-scale simulations.

CF Data Hub facilitates interaction between many nodes, realizes mashup type AI services that can create new AI services by combining several AI services, and builds social capital for the era of the Smart World with IOWN as its platform.

We will also contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by reducing the power consumption of the computing infrastructure that supports that society.

*This article was excerpted and edited from "Technology development roadmap for realizing the IOWN Concept, April 16, 2020 News Release".