Among other things, central processing units (CPUs) manage a "garbage collection" process of identifying and deleting redundant or irrelevant data from apps so computers have more memory available, taking up 10% or more of the total time a CPU spends on an app.
Former University of California, Berkeley researcher Martin Maas and colleagues have engineered a compact accelerator to relieve the CPU of this garbage collection task.
The accelerator, which can be added to the CPU, runs on a small amount of chip area and power, and can handle garbage collection more efficiently by performing a larger number of memory operations concurrently.
The device far outperformed a CPU core, and cut the amount of power needed for garbage collection by 15%.
Maas said, "This means that you could build a system where the software does not have to worry about garbage collection at all and just keeps using the available memory."
From IEEE Spectrum
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