Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Northwestern Engineers To Give Longer Life To Battery-Powered Devices

Date:
August 2, 2000
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Laptop computers, Palm Pilots and cellular phones all rely on the fixed amount of energy in their batteries to function, but that precious power is not used as efficiently as it could be. Now, a team of electrical and computer engineers at Northwestern University is working to develop low-power computing systems that could breathe longer life into battery-powered, portable devices.

Laptop computers, Palm Pilots and cellular phones all rely on the fixed amount of energy in their batteries to function, but that precious power is not used as efficiently as it could be. Now, a team of electrical and computer engineers at Northwestern University is working to develop low-power computing systems that could breathe longer life into battery-powered, portable devices.

The team, led by Prith Banerjee, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is not focusing on improving batteries but instead is looking at the complex architecture of the computer and its utilization of power to complete tasks. Currently, much of a battery’s power is wasted.

With a three-year, $2 million grant from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA), Banerjee and his colleagues plan to develop novel architectural and compiler concepts that can reduce total energy consumption in specific military applications by a factor of 100 times over conventional, non-power-aware computer architectures.

Power-aware computing is needed to improve the performance of military devices, such as satellites and missiles. Satellite missions, for example, could be lengthened or made more complex if their systems managed power effectively and efficiently in response to changing environmental and mission conditions. Entirely new missions could be possible with improved technology.

While the researchers are focusing their efforts on military applications, the new technology also will benefit civilian applications. To help ensure technology transfer to the commercial sector, the Northwestern team is collaborating with Motorola Corporation and Cadence Design Systems throughout the project.

"In developing a low-power system, we essentially want to shut off different components of the computer when they are not needed," said Banerjee, an expert in compilers and computer-aided design (CAD). "Success requires an integrated approach. We need to develop both code that drives the computer in a smart way and architecture that can execute the code’s commands."

The challenge lies in creating a totally integrated low-power computing system, something that has yet to be done. Others in industry have contributed singular techniques that reduce the use of power, but no one has approached the problem as comprehensively as the Northwestern team.

The integrated system will rely on three key parts: power-aware CAD tools, a power-aware compiler and power-aware hardware or architecture.

Focusing on memory and processor hardware, the researchers will use CAD tools to design new components and chips that use less power. When designing the compiler, which translates the software into machine code, they will need to integrate it with the new hardware architecture. The CAD tools also will be used to test the design of the new system and determine if the amount of power it consumes is acceptable.

At the end of the three-year project, the Northwestern team will demonstrate the usefulness of the new power-aware system on real military applications.

"We can make computers more intelligent," said Banerjee. "By using battery resources in a smart way, the new devices will have the power to do more things, whether it be a more complicated satellite mission or a laptop computer that can perform more functions. An added bonus is that your laptop may require battery recharging only once a week, instead of every six hours."

Other members of the team include professors Majid Sarrafzadeh, Alok Choudhary, Andreas Moshovos and Horace Yuen, all of Northwestern’s department of electrical and computer engineering. Further information on the project can be found at http://www.ece.northwestern.edu/cpdc/PACT/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Northwestern Engineers To Give Longer Life To Battery-Powered Devices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802074312.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2000, August 2). Northwestern Engineers To Give Longer Life To Battery-Powered Devices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802074312.htm
Northwestern University. "Northwestern Engineers To Give Longer Life To Battery-Powered Devices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000802074312.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins