Interconnection Networks: Role & Types

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  • 0:04 What Is Parallel Processing?
  • 0:29 Interconnection Networks
  • 1:40 Interconnection…
  • 2:21 Static and Dynamic
  • 3:41 Static Network Types
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha has a Doctor of Education degree in math education and is currently working as a Information Technology Specialist.

Parallel processing is the simultaneous execution of different tasks by a computer processor. In this lesson, we'll learn about static and dynamic interconnection networks for connecting the different elements for parallel processing.

What Is Parallel Processing?

Jim is the network and systems engineer for a weather station. He manages a number of high-performance computers that are capable of highly complex simulations involving massive data sets for modeling weather and oceans. An example of its use is simulating the path of a cyclone. This is an example of parallel processing, or parallel computing with computations on multiple processors that are executed at the same time.

Interconnection Networks

In computing terms, interconnection networks provide connections between the different components of the interconnection mechanism. The network has processing elements or nodes, or PEs, that are at one end of the network and memory elements or nodes, or MEs, at the other end. The PEs and MEs are connected by switching elements, or SEs, that are optional. Think of a garden hose with a sprinkler attached to one end. Sometimes the hose has an adapter or a switch that allows for different kinds of sprinklers and for connecting other hoses.

Interconnection networks, also called multi-stage interconnection networks (or MINs), are high-speed computer networks. They're connections between nodes where each node can be a single processor or a group of processors or memory modules. These connections carry or transport data from one processor to another or from the processor to the memory so that the task is broken down and computed in parallel. So, for example, you can have one network that's connected to a group of processors or computers at one end and a memory pool at the other end. The pattern in which the nodes are connected to each other is known as topology. The two main types of topology are static and dynamic.

Interconnection Network Benefits

Networking was first made use of in the 1950s in telecommunications to connect phone calls through switchboards that switched between electric connections or switches to make the connections. In the computing world, networking provides a method for fast communication between multiple processors of a computer and between multiple computers connected to a network.

The idea behind interconnection networks is that when a computing task involving large amounts of data cannot be sufficiently handled by a single processor, the task is broken up into parallel tasks that are performed at the same time, so the processing time is vastly reduced. Efficient interconnection networks are critical for high-speed data transfer between the different elements in parallel processing.

Static and Dynamic

Interconnection network topology is the layout and design of the connections and the switches that constitute the interconnections. There are two ways in which interconnection networks are connected: static or dynamic.

In a static network, there is no switch and the connection between the processor and memory nodes are fixed or hard-wired and cannot be changed or reconfigured easily. Picture a garden hose again but this time it has a sprinkler and no adapter. The connection has no switching elements, and the connection between the processors or between the memory and the processor is static. This is also called a direct connection because the processor and the memory modules are connected directly without any other connecting elements in between. Some examples of the structures that a static network can have are pipeline, matrix, ring, torus tree, star, or hypercube.

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