Undergrad Research Project - Architecture and Platform Design for Energy-harvesting Computer Systems

Spring 2015

Student
Graham Harvey
Advisor
Brandon Lucia
Project description

The goal of this project is to motivate, design, and implement a new computer architecture, platform design, and runtime software for an energy-harvesting embedded system. The purpose of the new system support is two-fold, first enabling a simpler programming abstraction and second, improving overall system energy efficiency. To improve programming, the system will have a novel, heterogeneous memory system comprising of a mixture of volatile and non-volatile memories. The architecture and software will manage state in both types of memory to ensure that despite failures, computed results are preserved and data remain consistent across failures. To improve energy efficiency, the system will incorporate both conventional low-power microcontrollers and emerging, low-power configurable logic devices. These devices can be coupled at the level of the architecture or the level of the platform. Motivating the above, we will conduct a study that defines the dimensions of the design space for such systems and characterizes existing and future embedded applications to identify points of friction when run on energy-harvesting devices.

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