Fujitsu develops technology to visualize the energy required to execute software

July 29, 2015, Fujitsu
Fujitsu develops technology to visualize the energy required to execute software
Figure 1: Software energy analysis using energy distribution based on performance indices

Fujitsu Laboratories today announced that it has developed technology that precisely calculates the energy required to execute various software programs running on server CPUs, for energy-efficient programming. Servers equipped with Intel-made CPUs include a power-control mechanism that can measure power consumption for the CPU as a whole. Until now, however, it was not possible to calculate the energy required to execute software on a core-by-core basis, so it has been difficult to take a software-based approach to reducing power consumption. Now Fujitsu Laboratories has developed technology that uses information that can be tracked at the individual core level, such as clock cycles and cache-hit percentages, to estimate energy consumption in detail, down to the program module level. This makes energy-efficient programming a more efficient process, contributing to both lower overall server energy usage and, by using surplus power, higher software performance. Details of this technology are being presented at the Summer United Workshops on Parallel, Distributed and Cooperative Processing 2015 (SWoPP 2015), opening in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, on August 4.

As the scale and processing volumes of systems such as datacenters and supercomputers expand, so too does their consumption. For example, in the case of a top-level, high-performance supercomputer, power consumption is thought to reach roughly 18 megawatts. According to a report by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(1), Japan's datacenters consume an average of 7.72 billion kWh per year. Given these high levels, there is a need to reduce overall energy consumption.

One way to reduce energy consumption is through the use of more energy-efficient hardware. Another is to reduce the energy required to run programs on servers. A precondition for energy-efficient programming is to have an understanding of the energy being consumed by existing . Servers equipped with Intel-made CPUs include a power-control mechanism called RAPL(2) that can be used to measure for the CPU as a whole. But this has not extended to being able to analyze energy consumption at an individual core level, which is where software runs. This has made it difficult to get a detailed picture of the energy requirements of software.

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed an analytic method that can make precise estimates of software energy requirements (Figure 1) for servers equipped with Intel-made CPUs. The technology has the following characteristics:

1. Performs detailed analysis of software energy requirements by using power distribution based on performance indices

Combining measurements that can be captured at the level of the individual CPU core, such as clock cycles and cache-hit percentages, Fujitsu Laboratories newly devised performance indices with a high degree of correlation to energy consumption. By distributing total CPU energy consumption across each core according to the index values calculated per CPU core, it becomes possible to get a detailed picture of energy consumption on a program module basis.

2. Calculates energy information with low overhead

The types of measurements used as performance indices for each CPU core are limited, which enables information capture down to the millisecond. The calculation of energy information imposes an overhead of roughly only 1% of the total, meaning that the measurement does not significantly impact performance. Additionally, fine-grained sampling makes it possible to get a highly accurate picture of the energy required to execute a given software program.

This technology promises to help software developers tune their software for lower (energy-efficient programming) in order to reduce overall server energy consumption and, by using spare power and increasing parallelism, to boost software performance.

Fujitsu Laboratories is proceeding with tests of reducing the energy required to execute software with the goal of a practical implementation of this technology in fiscal 2016. The company is also looking into applying the technology to Fujitsu's own datacenters, with the goal of analyzing datacenter in more detail to improve datacenter energy efficiency.

Explore further: Better software cuts computer energy use

Related Stories

Better software cuts computer energy use

December 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart devices.

Cutting the cloud computing carbon cost

September 12, 2014

Cloud computing involves displacing data storage and processing from the user's computer on to remote servers. It can provide users with more storage space and computing power that they can then access from anywhere in the ...

New method to motivate students to reduce energy consumption

September 29, 2014

Research from the University of Kent has found energy consumption can be reduced significantly by students if they can see the amount of energy they are using in real-time and are motivated by their peers to save energy.

Smoothly moving industrial robots save energy

June 5, 2014

Siemens wants to further reduce the power consumption of manufacturing robots in the automotive industry. One approach to this problems deals with movement patterns that require less acceleration energy, as was reported in ...

Recommended for you

World's biggest battery in Australia to trump Musk's

March 16, 2018

British billionaire businessman Sanjeev Gupta will built the world's biggest battery in South Australia, officials said Friday, overtaking US star entrepreneur Elon Musk's project in the same state last year.

1 in 3 Michigan workers tested opened fake 'phishing' email

March 16, 2018

Michigan auditors who conducted a fake "phishing" attack on 5,000 randomly selected state employees said Friday that nearly one-third opened the email, a quarter clicked on the link and almost one-fifth entered their user ...

Origami-inspired self-locking foldable robotic arm

March 15, 2018

A research team of Seoul National University led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho has developed an origami-inspired robotic arm that is foldable, self-assembling and also highly-rigid. (The researchers include Suk-Jun Kim, Dae-Young ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.