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A Sampler of Circuit Switching Networks Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131405D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 21 page(s) / 72K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Gerald M. Masson: AUTHOR [+5]


The Johns Hopkins University

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1979 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

A Sampler of Circuit Switching Networks

Gerald M. Masson

The Johns Hopkins University

George C. Gingher

Bethlehem Steel Corporation

Shinji Nakamura

The Johns Hopkins University

(Image Omitted: This overview presents several different types of circuit switching networks: concentrators, connectors, expanders, partitioners, SIMD interconnectors, and sorters.)

Circuit switching networks are systems which provide a set of interconnecting circuits from a set of inputs to a set of outputs by opening and closing switches, or crosspoints. As a discipline, circuit switching networks deal fundamentally with the design and analysis of crosspoint patterns. At first thought, the idea of designing a system for simply interconnecting terminals might seem too basic to constitute a research area. However, the vast majority of the area of circuit switching networks lies far beneath the surface.

This paper presents some of the important results of recent research into circuit switching networks and their complexity. Several different types of circuit switching networks will be discussed, together with the theoretical complexity and the best known explicit constructions needed to implement them. As with any sampler, the network designs we display will hardly exhaust the available possibilities. Nor do we mean to imply that those omitted are held in lower regard than those we discuss. Our intent is only to show that the area of circuit switching networks is embroidered with many fascinating designs which are now, more than ever before, applicable to computer system architectures.

Much of the early research on circuit switching networks was motivated by the needs of the communications industry. Indeed, a great deal of the work in this area still is pursued because of that application. However, with the advent of LSI/VLSI technologies, a circuit switching network now often represents a principal subsystem in a large class of memory/ processor/peripheral computer complexes. In fact, in many such systems the associated circuit switching network significantly, and even dominantly, affects the overall cost and performance of the system.

As generic examples of their uses in these applications, three schematics of computer systems containing circuit switching networks are shown in Figure 1. In Figure l(a), the circuit switching network is required to provide paths between a large set of input devices to some smaller set of output ports. These output ports then provide access for those input devices to some other devices or functions. It is u...