Warp Power May Soon Add Extra Life to Your Cell Phone and iPod Batteries

Apr 14, 2009

Roman Lysecky, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at The University of Arizona, has been awarded a grant of more than $400,000 by the National Science Foundation to develop high-performance customizable computer chips.

Lysecky's research will focus on the emerging field of warp processing, which uses high-performance called field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs.

"Star Trek" fans should note that Lysecky will not be setting up a "warp core" in his Embedded Systems Design Laboratory. Although warp processing certainly is about achieving very high speeds, it is also about achieving gains in power conservation. Exceeding the speed of light is not part of Lysecky's research.

"The original focus of warp processing was strictly performance," said Lysecky. "My research proposal expands warp processing into a new domain of low power."

Some systems don't actually need to be faster. Putting a warp processor in a cell phone, for instance, would not improve call quality. "The chip in a cell phone is already fast enough," said Lysecky. "Using a warp processor doesn't improve the quality of the call itself, it just leaves a few idle cycles behind. However, from a power perspective, there is a noticeable impact in the form of extended ."

Computer chips such as FPGAs are hardware, and hardware typically is not programmable. It just does what it was built to do. FPGAs, however, are computer chips that can be programmed after manufacture - hence "field-programmable."

FPGAs work in a parallel fashion, which means they can execute thousands of instructions simultaneously. Software, on the other hand, works sequentially and executes instructions one after the other.

"This is very efficient from a computational point of view," said Lysecky. "We can give hardware the flexibility of software so that hardware can be programmed on the fly," said Lysecky. "It takes a matter of seconds to configure how the chip will work."

Warp processing allows hardware programming to be integrated into software development. This is significant because it reduces dependence on hardware designers, who are in short supply.

"Warp processing hides FPGAs from software developers," said Lysecky. "But it allows them to extract the power and performance inherent in programming, which speeds up development, reduces cost and creates better performing software that uses less energy."

Lysecky was awarded the 5-year grant of $415,000 under the NSF's prestigious Faculty Early Career Development program, which supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

In-Stat, a market research company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., predicted in a 2006 report that the global market for FPGAs would increase from $1.9 billion in 2005 to $2.75 billion by 2010. In-Stat estimates that communications and industrial applications will account for 77 percent of the market share.

Provided by University of Arizona (news : web)

Explore further: PsiKick's batteryless sensors poised for coming 'Internet of things'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research Leads to Self-Improving Chips with Speed 'Warping'

Oct 18, 2007

Imagine owning an automobile that can change its engine to suit your driving needs – when you’re tooling about town, it works like a super-fast sports car; when you’re hauling a heavy load, it operates like a strong, ...

Research could produce a new class of computer chip

Feb 14, 2007

A new research project at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is aimed at developing an entirely new type of reconfigurable computing device, one that combines the speed and power efficiency of custom-designed chips with ...

XILINX RANKS #1 IN FPGA EMBEDDED PROCESSING SOLUTIONS

Aug 10, 2004

Latest CMP Media embedded processor survey reaffirms lead with comprehensive portfolio of hard and soft processor solutions for FPGAs Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) today reported independent survey results clearly establishing the Xil ...

Recommended for you

Lifting the brakes on fuel efficiency

3 hours ago

The work of a research leader at Michigan Technological University is attracting attention from Michigan's Governor as well as automotive companies around the world. Xiaodi "Scott" Huang of Michigan Tech's ...

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...