University of Toronto
December 20 1999
The Itsy (Version 2) Pocket Computer
Importance of Energy Conservation
Compaq Computer Corporation, Western Research Laboratory
About the talk:
Ubiquitous computing assumes that computers will become
sufficiently prevalent that they will become invisible by
their constant presence. Although this future has not yet
arrived, the emergence of pocket computers has introduced
systems designers to some of the new challenges that this
future is likely to pose. In particular, in addition to
traditional metrics of performance, system designs must also
be evaluated with regard to new metrics, with energy usage
and user interfaces foremost among these.
In this talk, through my discussion of two on-going
projects at WRL, I hope to convince you that design
decisions appropriate for desktop computers must be
re-examined in the context of pocket computers.
I will begin by describing the system and software
architecture of the Itsy Pocket Computer, a state-of-the-art
pocket computer. The Itsy Pocket Computer is a small,
handheld computer based on the fast, low-powered, StrongARM
SA-1100 microprocessor. It is designed to be an flexible
platform for research projects ranging from OS power
management to novel gesture and speech-based user
interfaces. The current prototype runs at 200MHz on a Li-ion
battery, and sports a tiny, high-resolution LCD with
touchscreen, an audio codec, and up to 128MB of flash and
128 MB of DRAM. It runs Linux and offers several development
environments including Java.
I will then discuss how the power usage of this pocket
computer differs from that of laptop computers, and how
decisions made in the design of flexible software
environments, such as Java, affect the power consumed.
Understanding such decisions is a necessary first step in
designing software environments for pocket computers, and
strategies to manage their resources.
The Itsy Project is a joint project of the Western
Research Lab and the Systems Research Center, with
contributions from Compaq's Software Engineering Australia
group, and various summer interns and visiting researchers.
The work on quantifying the energy consumption of the Itsy
Pocket Computer was done in collaboration with Jennifer
Anderson, Godmar Back, Jason Flinn, and Dirk Grunwald.
Click here to start.
Compaq Computer Corporation
Western Research Laboratory
250 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301