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Power profiling study could signal big technological shift

New research into the power profiling of microprocessors will shape the development of technology for years to come, according to experts.

Academics claim to have made a "big leap forward" in the power profiling of microprocessors.

Computer science professors from The University of Texas at Austin and the Australian National University say the research will help companies like Intel, Google, Apple and Microsoft develop software and hardware that dramatically reduces the energy costs associated with small and large devices.

The study analysed the application power, performance and energy usage on a wide variety of hardware, proving that different classes of software have very different power usage levels.

Journal IEEE Micro has described the work as one of the "most significant research papers in computer architecture based on novelty and long-term impact" this year.

Energy efficiency is now a key issue for manufacturers across the board, for everything from smartphones and tablets to ultrabooks, laptops and desktops.

This is heightened by the fact that advancements in microprocessor technology are no longer producing "exponential gains" in performance.

Kathryn McKinley, professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Austin and study leader, believes that power profiling will become a key component of computer design, as firms begin to consider how they balance use of software and applications against energy consumption.

"In the past, we optimised only for performance. If you were picking between two software algorithms, or chips, or devices, you picked the faster one. You didn't worry about how much power it was drawing from the wall socket," she explained.

"There are still many situations today—for example, if you are making software for stock market traders—where speed is going to be the only consideration. But there are a lot of other areas where you really want to consider the power usage."ADNFCR-1220-ID-801273572-ADNFCR