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Better Software Cuts Computer Energy Use


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A represention of greater energy efficiency.

The ENTRA project is aimed at developing tools to help software engineers write energy-efficient code.

Credit: ADFD.org

The European Union-funded ENTRA project aims to develop tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centers by up to 50 percent and improve battery life in smart devices.

The ENTRA tool is an experimental software prototype based on programming semantics that tells programmers how much energy will be consumed as a result of the code they are writing. The software runs alongside the program and, through code analysis and energy modeling, shows how much the code is going to cost the computer in terms of energy use. The ENTRA tool shows energy use in terms of watts or in absolute energy requirements depending on the speed of the processor.

The ENTRA prototype is being tested on real-time audio processing, robot, and motor control, and real-time networking.

"The whole approach is independent of any particular hardware or application domain in the sense that it is based purely on the programming language semantics and a general energy model," says project coordinator John Gallagher. "So we could apply the same techniques to high performance computers."

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