Efficient Sensor-Driven Systems for the Physical World

Monday October 17th, 2016
Location: Panther Hollow Conference Room, CIC - 4th Floor
Time: 2PM

Phillip Stanley-Marbell (MIT)


Embedded systems measure noisy phenomena from the physical world. The algorithms that consume the sensed data (e.g., pedometer algorithms) are therefore often robust to limited input data errors. When the outputs of these algorithms are for human consumption, we can exploit both the robustness of algorithms to input errors as well as the flexibility of human perception, for more efficient sensor-driven interactive computing systems. Lax, Rake, and Crayon are three new systems that build on these observations to improve the energy efficiency of sensor activation, sensor data acquisition, and displays. Lax [SMR15] reduces sensor operation power dissipation by over 40%, in exchange for infrequent sensor access failures that are easily masked by existing sensor applications. The Rake project [SMR16a] reduces data transfer power dissipation in exchange for data accuracy, minimally affecting the algorithms that consume this data. Crayon [SMR16b] reduces power dissipation of OLED displays, by exploiting the flexibility of human shape and color perception. In this talk, I will overview the Lax, Rake, and Crayon systems and will briefly outline ongoing work on a custom-designed hardware platform that builds on these ideas.

[SMR15] P. Stanley-Marbell and M. Rinard. “Lax: Driver Interfaces for Approximate Sensor Device Access”, USENIX HotOS’15, Ittingen, Switzerland, May 2015.

[SMR16a] P. Stanley-Marbell and M. Rinard. “Reducing Serial I/O Power in Error-Tolerant Applications by Efficient Lossy Encoding”, ACM/IEEE DAC, Austin, TX, June 2016.

[SMR16b] P. Stanley-Marbell, V. Estellers, and M. Rinard. “Crayon: saving power through shape and color approximation on next-generation displays”, ACM EuroSys'16, London, UK, April 2016.


Phillip Stanley-Marbell is a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. He received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 and was a post-doctoral researcher at TU Eindhoven until 2008, when he joined IBM Research—Zurich as a permanent Research Staff Member. In 2012 he joined Apple Inc. in Cupertino, USA, to see his research ideas deployed in real-world products. Prior to completing his Ph.D., he held intern and full-time positions at AT&T / Lucent Bell-Labs, Philips Consumer Communications, Lucent's Data Networking Group, and NEC Research Labs.

Dr. Stanley-Marbell is the author of a programming language textbook published by John Wiley & Sons in 2003, and of over thirty scientific publications and over a dozen patents / patent applications. He is a member of the ACM, IEEE, Sigma Xi, USENIX, and the Swiss Mathematical Society. From 2003–2004, he served as the copy editor for the ACM Mobile Computing and Communications Review journal.

His research interests are in architectures for high-efficiency embedded data processing, compute architectures for future device technologies, and domain-specific programming languages for implementing error-efficient algorithms.

Seminar notes

Refreshments will be served at 2PM

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