Computational sprinting

According to Arun Raghavan, Yixin Luo, Anuj Chandawalla, Marios Papaefthymiou, Kevin P. Pipe, Thomas F. Wenisch and Milo M. K. Martin

While conventional processor designs (including their energy delivery systems and heat sinks) are designed primarly for sustained performance, we pose the question: “What would a system look like if designed to provide responsiveness during bursts rather than with a singular focus on sustained performance?” Our approach, called computational sprinting is aimed at mobile environments like smart-phones, where many interactive applications are characterized by short bursts of computational demand punctuated by long idle periods waiting for user input. Computational sprinting activates otherwise powered-down cores for sub-second bursts of intense parallel computation in response to such sporadic user activity. During sprints, the processor generates heat at a rate that far exceeds the thermal (cooling) and electrical (power delivery and stability) capacities of a typical smart-phone like device. This project therfore explores various thermal, electrical, architectural and software/runtime aspects to effectively facilitate sprinting for short time durations overcoming the physical challenges inherent in our target environments.

See also “Mobile supercomputers“.

Update: See also this recent conference paper.

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