Numerical simulation of an InP photonic integrated cross-connect for deep neural networks on chip

Bin Shi (Corresponding author), Nicola Calabretta, Ripalta Stabile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


We propose a novel photonic accelerator architecture based on a broadcast-and-weight approach for a deep neural network through a photonic integrated cross-connect. The single neuron and the complete neural network operation are numerically simulated. The weight calibration and weighted addition are reproduced and demonstrated to behave as in the experimental measurements. A dynamic range higher than 25 dB is predicted, in line with the measurements. The weighted addition operation is also simulated and analyzed as a function of the optical crosstalk and the number of input colors involved. In particular, while an increase in optical crosstalk negatively influences the simulated error, a greater number of channels results in better performance. The iris flower classification problem is solved by implementing the weight matrix of a trained three-layer deep neural network. The performance of the corresponding photonic implementation is numerically investigated by tuning the optical crosstalk and waveguide loss, in order to anticipate energy consumption per operation. The analysis of the prediction error as a function of the optical crosstalk per layer suggests that the first layer is essential to the final accuracy. The ultimate accuracy shows a quasi-linear dependence between the prediction accuracy and the errors per layer for a normalized root mean square error lower than 0.09, suggesting that there is a maximum level of error permitted at the first layer for guaranteeing a final accuracy higher than 89%. However, it is still possible to find good local minima even for an error higher than 0.09, due to the stochastic nature of the network we are analyzing. Lower levels of path losses allow for half the power consumption at the matrix multiplication unit, for the same error level, offering opportunities for further improved performance. The good agreement between the simulations and the experiments offers a solid base for studying the scalability of this kind of network.
Original languageEnglish
Article number474
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020


  • Artificial neural networks
  • Deep neural network
  • Image classification
  • Photonic integrated circuits
  • Photonic neural network
  • Semiconductor optical amplifiers


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical simulation of an InP photonic integrated cross-connect for deep neural networks on chip'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this