Fall 2010 IAB
September 15 to 17

Invited Faculty Talk
Prof. Jan M. Rabaey, Donald O. Pedersen Distinguished Professor, EECS/BWRC

The Swarm at the Edge of the Cloud: Ultra Low-Power System Design

Mobile devices such as laptops, netbooks, tablets, smart phones and game consoles have become our de facto interface to the vast amount of information delivery and processing capabilities of the cloud. The move to mobility has been enabled by the dual forces of ubiquitous wireless connectivity combined with the increasing energy efficiency offered by Moore's law.
Yet, a major component of the mobile remains largely untapped: the capability to interact with the world immediately around us. A third layer of information acquisition and processing devices - commonly called the sensory swarm - is emerging, enabled by even more pervasive wireless networking and the introduction of novel ultra-low power technologies. This gives rise to the true emergence of concepts such as cyber-physical systems, immersive computing, and augmented reality.
The functionality of the swarm arises from connections of devices, leading to a new Moore’s law in which scaling is not in the number of transistors per chip, but in the number of interconnected devices. Enabling this fascinating paradigm still requires substantial improvements in energy efficiency. The largest efficiency gains will be obtained by dynamically balancing the available resources: computation, spectrum and energy so that the desired utility is reached under highly variable conditions and loads. Realizing such may require something like a “swarm brokerage” – a distributed environment that enables cooperation and collaboration between nodes connected in a swarm.