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Hp Researcher: Power Efficiency Has a Long Way to Go

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The information technology and consumer electronics industries could make quantum leaps in terms of improving the power efficiency of electronic systems and devices, says Hewlett-Packard (HP) researcher Parthasarathy Ranganathan. He says that based on the theoretical physical limits of the power costs to transfer information, the energy used by a single handheld device could power a billion desktop computer processors.

Multi-use devices, such as smartphones, almost always use more energy than single-use devices such as MP3 players. "This requirement results in designers using the 'union' of maximum requirements of all application classes," Ranganathan says. He suggests that one technique which could be more widely used is "spending energy to save energy."

The idea is to develop new capabilities that lower overall energy usage, even if the new capabilities themselves require additional energy to run. One example would be a program that regularly scans the memory of servers to reclaim portions that have been reserved by programs but are no longer being used. Another suggestion is to examine the power consumption of a system by looking at the entire ensemble of components, rather than focusing on the consumption of individual units.

From PC World
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