An optical method for separating and routing local and express channel data comprises interconnecting the nodes in a network with fiber optic cables. A single fiber optic cable carries both express channel traffic and local channel traffic, e.g., in a massively parallel processor (MPP) network. Express channel traffic is placed on, or filtered from, the fiber optic cable at a light frequency or a color different from that of the local channel traffic. The express channel traffic is thus placed on a light carrier that skips over the local intermediate nodes one-by-one by reflecting off of selective mirrors placed at each local node. The local-channel-traffic light carriers pass through the selective mirrors and are not reflected. A single fiber optic cable can thus be threaded throughout a three-dimensional matrix of nodes with the x,y,z directions of propagation encoded by the color of the respective light carriers for both local and express channel traffic. Thus frequency division multiple access is used to hierarchically separate the local and express channels to eliminate the bucket brigade latencies that would otherwise result if the express traffic had to hop between every local node to reach its ultimate destination.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.