Prof's power-saving invention gets patent
Feb 19, 2013 (Khaleej Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
After a three-year wait, a UAE University (UAEU) IT professor has received a patent for his innovative method of accelerating data transfer between the computer memory and the microprocessor by up to 40 per cent, and for reducing energy usage during the process.
The method has wide applications in laptops, desktops, tablets and smart-phones.
Dr Azam Beg, associate professor at the UAEU's College of Information Technology (CIT), was awarded the patent on January 29 by the UK Intellectual Property Office for his invention entitled the 'Architecture of a Processor with Low Energy Instruction Cache'.
"Cache memory acts as a bridge between the two important parts of a computer: the microprocessor and the main memory. The cache allows faster execution of computer programmes by storing the recently used data and parts of the programmes. The caches rely on the fact that most practical programmes exhibit 'locality of reference' which means that if some programme instructions are accessed once, the chances are that the same set of instructions would be accessed again," explained Dr Beg.
However, the cache memory is small and can't save big amounts of data and its contents require regular replacement.
Such replacement not only consumes energy but also slows down the programmes.
"Our invention entails a programme (instruction) cache that distinctly stores and accesses the instruction blocks in the programmes. Use of the blocks and coding of common instructions, in conjunction with a special thread selection utility, reduces the energy consumption of a computer system," he added.
"The invention is all about reducing energy (battery saving) and reducing the time it takes to get the information."
Dr Beg's method, which was carried out through a simulation, showed that data microprocessor throughout is enhanced by 30 to 40 per cent.
Similar improvements are predicted in reducing the energy consumption of the cache.
Now that he has the patent for his work, Dr Beg next aims at building a prototype.
"It would be nice to make an actual prototype chip, but it is very expensive. Another challenge is the ability to test the prototype," he said.
Dr Beg has worked with the UAEU for over seven years and holds MS and PhD degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Mississippi State University of the US. Prior to joining the UAEU, he worked at Intel Corp's Microprocessor Division in California for eight years.
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