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A Recipe for Efficiency? Some Principles of Power- aware Computing

Ranganathan, Parthasarathy
HP Laboratories



Abstract: Power and energy are emerging to be key design considerations across a spectrum of computing solutions, from supercomputers and datacenters, to handhelds and mobile computers. There has been a large body of work on managing power and improving energy efficiency, all of which can be summarized in two words - "avoid waste!" The challenge, however, is in figuring out where and why the waste happens, and identifying how to avoid the waste. This article addresses this challenge. We argue that at a high level, many inefficiencies (waste) stem from the inherent way in which we currently address complex tradeoffs in the system design process. We discuss the common design practices that lead to power inefficiencies in typical systems and provide an intuitive categorization of high-level approaches to addressing these. Our hope is that this position paper provides practitioners, whether they are in systems, packaging, algorithms, user interfaces, databases, or any other area, a set of tools (a "recipe") to systematically reason about and optimize power in their respective domains.

10 Pages

Additional Publication Information: To be published in Communications of the ACM, Feb 2010.

External Posting Date: September 21, 2009 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: September 21, 2009 [Fulltext]

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