Optical sensing as a means of monitoring health of multicomputer networks

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Virginia Tech


The use of optical sensors to perform health monitoring in fault-tolerant multicomputers can allow the multicomputer to detect imminent failure in a particular section of the interconnection network due to damaging strain. This detection method allows the rerouting of critical data before data link failure occurs.

This thesis investigates the implementation of the extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometer into an optical hybrid communications/sensing network. A testbed of personal computers, acting as nodes of a multicomputer, are used to monitor the integrity of the network to a high degree of accuracy. When a node determines that an adjacent data link is no longer reliable due to physical damage, communications are rerouted and the node is shut down.

Results of experiments with the testbed have shown that redundant nodes can be used to share computational loads, increasing the performance of the multicomputer, until network failure forces redundant nodes to assume full responsibility for computational tasks. Multicomputer performance suffers as a result of network damage, but full functionality is retained with no occurrence of errors or unknown conditions due to data link failure.