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Connecting The Dots / An optical network for accelerating real-time tracking with FPGAs

The “Artificial Retina” is a highly-parallelized tracking architecture that promises high-throughput, low-latency, and low-power when implemented in state-of-art FPGA devices. Working on not-builded events, the “Artificial Retina” needs a dedicated distribution network of large bandwidth and low latency, delivering to every FPGA the hits required to perform track reconstruction. This is a technologically challenging part of the system that has not yet been tested in a life-size application. The upgraded LHCb DAQ is an ideal environment for a first test of this methodology. In Run-3, the Level-0 hardware trigger will be removed, therefore LHCb will readout events at the full LHC collision rate (30 MHz), build them, and deliver them to the HLT system. The present work is part of a wider Real Time Analysis project, that was formed with the purpose of organizing data processing within this novel environment, and represents an R&D towards future fast technologies for real-time tracking. We used as benchmark the reconstruction of tracks within the new VELO-pixel detector, that is composed of a limited number of readout units. We present the design of the fast optical network, carrying a total b/w of ~15 Tb/s, devised for the purpose of realizing VELO tracking in real time, and the results of our tests of an actual prototype assembled and integrated in a vertical slice of the upgraded LHCb DAQ

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