Power Management

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A Conversation with Dan Dobberpuhl

The computer industry has always been about power. The development of the microprocessors that power computers has been a relentless search for more power, higher speed, and better performance, usually in smaller and smaller packages. But when is enough enough?

by David Ditzel | December 5, 2003


The Inevitability of Reconfigurable Systems

The introduction of the microprocessor in 1971 marked the beginning of a 30-year stall in design methods for electronic systems. The industry is coming out of the stall by shifting from programmed to reconfigurable systems. In programmed systems, a linear sequence of configuration bits, organized into blocks called instructions, configures fixed hardware to mimic custom hardware. In reconfigurable systems, the physical connections among logic elements change with time to mimic custom hardware. The transition to reconfigurable systems will be wrenching, but this is inevitable as the design emphasis shifts from cost performance to cost performance per watt. Here's the story.

by Nick Tredennick, Brion Shimamoto | December 5, 2003


Energy Management on Handheld Devices

Handheld devices are becoming ubiquitous and as their capabilities increase, they are starting to displace laptop computers - much as laptop computers have displaced desktop computers in many roles. Handheld devices are evolving from today's PDAs, organizers, cellular phones, and game machines into a variety of new forms. Although partially offset by improvements in low-power electronics, this increased functionality carries a corresponding increase in energy consumption. Second, as a consequence of displacing other pieces of equipment, handheld devices are seeing more use between battery charges. Finally, battery technology is not improving at the same pace as the energy requirements of handheld electronics.

by Marc A Viredaz, Lawrence S Brakmo, William R Hamburgen | December 5, 2003


Making a Case for Efficient Supercomputing

A supercomputer evokes images of "big iron" and speed; it is the Formula 1 racecar of computing. As we venture forth into the new millennium, however, I argue that efficiency, reliability, and availability will become the dominant issues by the end of this decade, not only for supercomputing, but also for computing in general.

by Wu-chun Feng | December 5, 2003


Modern System Power Management

The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is the most widely used power and configuration interface for laptops, desktops, and server systems. It is also very complex, and its current specification weighs in at more than 500 pages. Needless to say, operating systems that choose to support ACPI require significant additional software support, up to and including fundamental OS architecture changes. The effort that ACPI's definition and implementation has entailed is worth the trouble because of how much flexibility it gives to the OS (and ultimately the user) to control power management policy and implementation.

by Andrew Grover | December 5, 2003


Powering Down

Power management - from laptops to rooms full of servers - is a topic of interest to everyone. In the beginning there was the desktop computer. It ran at a fixed speed and consumed less power than the monitor it was plugged into. Where computers were portable, their sheer size and weight meant that you were more likely to be limited by physical strength than battery life. It was not a great time for power management.

by Matthew Garrett | January 17, 2008

CACM This article appears in print in Communications of the ACM, Volume 51 Issue 9


Maximizing Power Efficiency with Asymmetric Multicore Systems

Asymmetric multicore systems promise to use a lot less energy than conventional symmetric processors. How can we develop software that makes the most out of this potential?

by Alexandra Fedorova, Juan Carlos Saez, Daniel Shelepov, Manuel Prieto | November 20, 2009

CACM This article appears in print in Communications of the ACM, Volume 52 Issue 12


Power-Efficient Software

Power-manageable hardware can help save energy, but what can software developers do to address the problem?

by Eric Saxe | January 8, 2010

CACM This article appears in print in Communications of the ACM, Volume 53 Issue 2


A Conversation with Steve Furber

The designer of the ARM chip shares lessons on energy-efficient computing.

February 1, 2010


Toward Energy-Efficient Computing

What will it take to make server-side computing more energy efficient?

by David J. Brown, Charles Reams | February 17, 2010

CACM This article appears in print in Communications of the ACM, Volume 53 Issue 3


Cooling the Data Center

What can be done to make cooling systems in data centers more energy efficient?

by Andy Woods | March 10, 2010

CACM This article appears in print in Communications of the ACM, Volume 53 Issue 4