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Energy-Driven Computing: Rethinking the Design of Energy Harvesting Systems

Monday 20 February 2017, 2.00PM to 15:00

Speaker(s): Dr Geoff Merrett, University of Southampton


Energy harvesting computing has been gaining increasing traction over the past decade, fueled by technological developments and rising demand for autonomous and battery-free systems. Energy harvesting introduces numerous challenges to embedded systems but, arguably the greatest, is the required transition from an energy source that typically provides virtually unlimited power for a reasonable period of time until it becomes exhausted, to a power source that is highly unpredictable and dynamic (both spatially and temporally, and with a range spanning many orders of magnitude). The typical approach to overcome this is the addition of intermediate energy storage/buffering to smooth out the temporal dynamics of both power supply and consumption. This has the advantage that, if correctly sized, the system ‘looks like’ a battery-powered system; however, it also adds volume, mass, cost and complexity and, if not sized correctly, unreliability. In this talk, I will present a different class of computing to conventional approaches, namely energy-driven computing, where systems are designed from the outset to operate from an energy harvesting source. Such systems typically contain little or no additional energy storage (instead relying on tiny parasitic and decoupling capacitance), alleviating the aforementioned issues. Examples of energy-driven computing include transient systems (which power down when the supply disappears and efficiently continue execution when it returns) and power-neutral systems (which operate directly from the instantaneous power harvested, gracefully modulating their consumption and performance to match the supply).


Geoff Merrett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. He received the BEng (1st, Hons) and PhD degrees in Electronic Engineering from Southampton in 2004 and 2009 respectively. His research interests are in energy-aware and self-powered computing systems, with application across the spectrum from highly constrained IoT devices to many-core mobile and embedded systems. Dr Merrett is a Co-Investigator on the EPSRC-funded £5.6M PRiME Programme Grant (where he leads the applications and cross-layer interaction theme), the £11.6M SPHERE IRC, and "Continuous on-line adaptation in many-core systems: From graceful degradation to graceful amelioration". He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in these areas, and given invited talks at a number of international events. He is technical manager of Southampton’s ARM-ECS Research Centre, an award-winning industry-academia collaboration between the University of Southampton and ARM. He coordinates IoT research at the University, and leads the wireless sensing theme of its Pervasive Systems Centre.  He is an Associate Editor for the IET CDS journal, serves as a reviewer for a number of leading journals, and on TPCs for a range of conferences. He co-manages the UK’s Energy Harvesting Network, was General Chair of the ACM Workshop on Energy-Harvesting and Energy-Neutral Sensing Systems in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and is the General Chair of the European Workshop on Microelectronics Education 2016. He is a member of the IEEE, IET and Fellow of the HEA.

Location: PT006

Admission: Free


Telephone: 4485

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