Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chameleon-chip adapts itself and stays cool

22.09.2004


A microprocessor adapting itself to the actual use and environment. That’s the way to keep the energy consumption of future ‘mobile companions’ within limits and be flexible at the same time. Paul Heysters, who finishes his PhD-research at the University of Twente on September 24, developed a new type of processor. His ‘Montium’ is a reconfigurable processor adapting itself towards low energy consumption. It is possible to get ten times better performance, with ten times lower energy consumption at the same time, according to Heysters. He did his research at the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology of the University of Twente in The Netherlands.



Without energy-saving measures, they get real miniature stoves in your pocket, the mobile equipment of the future. They will be packed with a lot of functions, for which users need separate devices now. Including broadband mobile communication, GPS, navigation, camera, audio and video, ranging to full electronic driving license and passport. Fully profit from all these features means using a lot of energy. An application-specific chip (ASIC) would be the most energy-economic solution, but it is not flexible at all. That’s why Heysters chooses reconfigurability: he lets the hardware adapt itself to the use that’s made of it. The Montium – in animal world a rare chameleon species- is a processor that is capable of this. And it consumes far less power.

Tiles


Future mobile equipment has to, for example, be able to adapt to the network environment it is currently working is. Do you prefer a broadband connection and do you happen to be in a WiFi environment, than the chip will enable a WiFi connection. Is it just GSM/GPRS you can rely on at the moment, it chooses this connection. Without having fixed chips for all these standards onboard. Or: when you are just looking into your electronic diary, you don’t need sophisticated video functions.

The approach Heysters chooses is a ‘tiled’ one. His processor is not a huge generic one, capable of every possible task, but it consists of tiles that can be switched on or off depending on the desired function. Tiles are available for digital signal processing (DSP), for specific tasks and small general purpose processors. Every type of tiles is available in a repeated pattern.

This approach is really different from developing an ‘economic’ or ‘mobile’ version of a regular processor, Heysters states. In those cases, usually some adjustments are made to the power supply voltage or clock frequency. But in essence, the processor still is highly overdimensioned for the tasks it has to perform. What Heysters proposes is changing the hardware architecture based on the algorithm. This works: in a complex task like calculating a fast Fourier Transform, the Montium performs ten times better than a generic processor for mobile use, while it consumes ten times less energy. It would consume hundreds of times less than a Pentium, but this comparison is not fair: a Pentium would never be economic enough for a handheld device and get far to warm.

Worldwide, there are efforts going on for these energy-saving strategies. The Montium approach can be succesful in this, according to Heysters. One of the true success factors is that good design tools become available: designers have to be able to do their work on a high level of abstraction, without having to bother about the hardware underneath. Promising steps have been made in the group Heysters is working in. Industry is interested in his approach, and in fabricating a prototype chameleon-chip consisting of nine Montium tiles.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.utwente.nl

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

nachricht Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss
18.05.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>