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System power

I have raised the subject of embedded device power consumption before and I will again, as this is becoming more and more of a hot topic [no pun intended]. As I have touched upon on a previous occasion, power consumption is no longer purely a hardware – the software can have a significant effect. There are obvious ways that software has an influence: code efficiency, control of system voltage and clock frequency, de-activation of currently unused sub-systems [like displays, wireless etc.], good use of sleep modes … The list goes on.

Designing code for power efficiency is a big challenge, even with an OS that has facilities to assist. Verifying the implementation is another matter …

There are numerous challenges with verifying the control of device power, but it is possible to visualize a tool that would get the job done. Here are a few things that it would need to do:

  • Monitor power consumption and track to current code execution.
  • Perform such tracing on complex, multicore systems, which may use multiple operating systems.
  • Be able to work with multiple hardware representations from simulation through to final hardware [as the software optimization for power must start long before final hardware is available].

Does such a tool exist? Or is it really an integrated set of tools? Watch this space.

Just bear in mind that there is only one embedded software company that has strong roots in the hardware design world, but is not owned by a chip vendor. And there is only one EDA company who have made a really significant investment in embedded software …

Low Power, multi-core, Multi-OS

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About Colin Walls Follow on Twitter

Colin WallsI have over twenty-five years experience in the electronics industry, largely dedicated to embedded software. A frequent presenter at conferences and seminars and author of numerous technical articles and two books on embedded software, I am a member of the marketing team of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division, and am based in the UK. Away from work, I have a wide range of interests including photography and trying to point my two daughters in the right direction in life. Learn more about Colin, including his go-to karaoke song and the best parts of being British: http://go.mentor.com/3_acv Visit The Colin Walls Blog

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