This Note presents a detailed methodological approach for developing and optimizing the architecture of a photonic processor. The methodology includes the following steps: (1) defining the class of problems to be solved — those involving image-formatted databases, (2) defining the design functions of the photonic processor as the extraction of spatial information content from image-formatted databases, (3) developing "optical circuits" or other block diagrams illustrating the applications, (4) decomposing optical circuits into basic optical operational functions, (5) determining the physical design limits of the available technology base, and (6) conceptualizing the hardware design for the photonic processor. As an example of how this methodology is implemented, it discusses a structural model of a processor whose design function is to extract the spatial information content from image-formatted databases.
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