The Future of Computing Is Low-Power Design. Here's How to Get There
4 min read
Energy-efficient computing doesn't have to mean lower performance, argues Sasa Marinkovic.
It's often said that engineering is the compromise between dreams and reality. Indeed, the process of balancing the competing factors of high computing performance, low power consumption, cool operation, and light weight is a perfect example of the engineering tradeoffs that must be considered with every design.

Not long ago, low-power computing automatically assumed low-performance designs. This no longer holds true today. The mobile-driven industry focus on power efficiency and form-factor optimization is producing results that seem to upset this long-held presumption.

In the process, some of the old engineering compromises are being significantly altered, ushering in a new era of energy-efficient computing. Recent developments point to exciting improvements in energy efficiency -- just in time to meet the immense energy demands expected from the explosion in mobile devices and the developing "internet of things."

What we're witnessing is a reaction to expanding power demand and overburdened energy supply. Our computing future is pitting the enormous growth of devices and information against rising energy costs and an already overtaxed energy infrastructure. A substantial part of the solution consists of increasing the energy efficiency of our computing devices at a rate similar to the impressive microprocessor performance gains achieved during the past three decades of PC computing.

Key efficiency factors: Integration, innovation, power management

Today's mobile technologies utilize breakthroughs that squeeze more powerful performance into ever-smaller devices, boost battery life, reduce weight and heat, and virtually eliminate the need for noisy cooling fans. Many power efficiency gains are a result of rejecting the old PC-centric power management model of "the bigger, the better" in favor of a new, holistic approach that integrates power management functions across the entire system. This new approach has given rise to advances in system integration,…
Sasa Marinkovich
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