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More POWER to Software Developers

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31 January 2014

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As FOSDEM'14 main track speakers, Dr Kerstin Eder and Dr Jeremy Bennett gave an 
on the motivation and content of their FOSDEM talk entitled "Who ate my battery? Why free and open source systems are solving the problem of excessive energy consumption."

One of the main points is that low-power has long been a hardware design goal. Every hardware design is a point in 2D space, where energy consumption and performance can be analysed to find the optimal balance for a target design. But energy-aware computing requires analysis beyond the hardware layer in the “system stack”, including compilers, programming languages, software and algorithms. The focus of our talk is on the layers above hardware, which is where the biggest savings can be made. The software development tool chain plays a key role in energy efficient system design. We’ll explain why energy consumption should be promoted to a first class software design goal, and show what we do to achieve this vision.

The focus of Kerstin's talk is on giving “more power to software developers” - literally. It is important that developers become aware of the need to consider energy consumption from the outset and that they get access to tools that enable energy aware system design. With this talk and the Energy efficient computing devroom on Sunday we hope to stimulate energy efficient software design. In the future, Kerstin would like to run a “cool programming” competition. The challenge is to find the lowest energy code to compute a set of target tasks.