Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Industry and Business News .




CHIP TECH
Harnessing error-prone chips
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Oct 31, 2014


Image courtesy Jose-Luis Olivares and MIT.

As transistors get smaller, they also grow less reliable. Increasing their operating voltage can help, but that means a corresponding increase in power consumption.

With information technology consuming a steadily growing fraction of the world's energy supplies, some researchers and hardware manufacturers are exploring the possibility of simply letting chips botch the occasional computation. In many popular applications - video rendering, for instance - users probably wouldn't notice the difference, and it could significantly improve energy efficiency.

At this year's Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA) conference, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory presented a new system that lets programmers identify sections of their code that can tolerate a little error.

The system then determines which program instructions to assign to unreliable hardware components, to maximize energy savings while still meeting the programmers' accuracy requirements.

The system, dubbed Chisel, also features a tool that helps programmers evaluate precisely how much error their programs can tolerate.

If 1 percent of the pixels in an image are improperly rendered, will the user notice? How about 2 percent, or 5 percent? Chisel will simulate the execution of the image-rendering algorithm on unreliable hardware as many times as the programmer requests, with as many different error rates. That takes the guesswork out determining accuracy requirements.

The researchers tested their system on a handful of common image-processing and financial-analysis algorithms, using a range of unreliable-hardware models culled from the research literature. In simulations, the resulting power savings ranged from 9 to 19 percent.

Accumulating results
The new work builds on a paper presented at last year's OOSPLA, which described a programming language called Rely. Each paper won one of the conference's best-paper awards.

Rely provides the mechanism for specifying the accuracy requirements, and it features an operator - a period, or dot - that indicates that a particular instruction may be executed on unreliable hardware. In the work presented last year, programmers had to insert the dots by hand. Chisel does the insertion automatically - and guarantees that its assignment will maximize energy savings.

"One of the observations from all of our previous research was that usually, the computations we analyzed spent most of their time on one or several functions that were really computationally intensive," says Sasa Misailovic, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and lead author on the new paper.

"We call those computations 'kernels,' and we focused on them."

Misailovic is joined on the paper by his advisor, Martin Rinard, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS); by Sara Achour and Zichao Qi, who are also students in Rinard's group; and by Michael Carbin, who did his PhD with Rinard and will join the EECS faculty next year.

In practice, Misailovic says, programs generally have only a few kernels. In principle, Chisel could have been designed to find them automatically. But most developers who work on high-performance code will probably want to maintain a degree of control over what their programs are doing, Rinard says. And generally, they already use tools that make kernel identification easy.

Combinatorial explosion
A single kernel, however, may still consist of 100 or more instructions, any combination of which could be assigned to unreliable hardware. Manually canvassing all possible combinations and evaluating their effects on both computational accuracy and energy savings would still be a prohibitively time-consuming task.

But the researchers developed three separate mathematical expressions that describe accuracy of computation, reliability of instruction execution, and energy savings as functions of the individual instructions.

These expressions constrain the search that the system has to perform to determine which instructions to assign to unreliable hardware. That simpler - though still complex - problem is one that off-the-shelf software can handle.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Computer Chip Architecture, Technology and Manufacture
Nano Technology News From SpaceMart.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





CHIP TECH
Saving lots of computing capacity with a new algorithm
Walferdange, Luxembourg (SPX) Oct 31, 2014
The control of modern infrastructure such as intelligent power grids needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University of Luxembourg have developed an algorithm that might revolutionise these processes. With their new software the SnT researchers are able to forego the use of considerable amounts of computing ... read more


CHIP TECH
Active, biodegradable packaging for oily products

E-waste inferno burning brighter in China's recycling capital

Reverse engineering materials for more efficient heating and cooling

Steering ESA satellites clear of space debris

CHIP TECH
Canadian military receiving satellite-on-the-move communications system

Central Asian country orders Harris tactical radios

Canadian military communications getting upgrade

Russia to Orbit 9 MilCom Satellites by 2020

CHIP TECH
NASA Completes Initial Assessment after Orbital Launch Mishap

India to test fly bigger space vehicle next month

Arianespace signs contract with ELV for ten Vega launchers

Antares Rocket Crash in Virginia Investigation to Take up to Year

CHIP TECH
A GPS from the chemistry set

No Galileo nav-sat launch for December - Arianespace

Russian Bank Offers 5 Billion Rubles for GLONASS

Galileo duo handed over in excellent shape

CHIP TECH
Britain modernizing military air traffic management system

Airbus DS and Indian firm jointly pursue transport deal

Israel backing out of US V-22 aircraft sale: report

Slovak military orders C-27J Spartans

CHIP TECH
Harnessing error-prone chips

Saving lots of computing capacity with a new algorithm

Raising cryptography's standards

DARPA Circuit Achieves Speeds of 1 Trillion Cycles per Second

CHIP TECH
Copernicus operations secured until 2021

IceBridge Flies Around the Pole

ECOSTRESS Will Monitor Plant Health

China to help map Guyana's mineral resources: minister

CHIP TECH
Delhi chokes on toxic smog after festival of lights

Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants

US hid troop exposure to chemical agents in Iraq: report

Days of heavy air pollution blight northern China




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.