The National Science Foundation has granted funding to the Centerfor Optoelectronic Computing Systems located
in Boulder, Colorado. A new initiative has been undertaken there in collaboration with the Center for Telecommunications
Research at Columbia University. This project is to design and build a multi-GHz optoelectronic data transport
network using self-routing packets in a multi-hop network. The single electronic word packet payloads are highly
compressed using optical techniques, and remain optical from source to target while traversing the switching nodes.
Optical packet switching is performed with custom LiNbO3 directional coupler switches. The routing is done with a
lean, self-routing hot potato protocol in order to avoid the need for data storage at the switching nodes and to provide a
fixed node latency equivalent to a few meters of fiber. Sustainable throughput both in to and out of Ihe electronic host
at each node should exceed 1 Gb/s, with bursts close to the 10-100 Gb/s peak link bandwidth. Some technical details of
the optical compression and decompression schemes, the hot potato switching protocol, and the wrap-around shuffleexchange
interconnection network will be given. The project timetable anticipates a lower speed, proof-of-principle four
node network in three years, and a higher speed, larger, engineering demonstration in five years. The project received
NSF funding in September 1989.