Researchers targeting smartphone energy efficiency with NSF grant

Florida State, University of Pittsburgh researchers look to give smartphones more life

While smartphone headlines are dominated by the latest and greatest devices, from Sprint's new 3G/4G phone - the HTC EVO 4G - to Apple's anticipated new iPhone, a pair of university researchers have quietly been awarded a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to address the most vexing thing about mobile phones: short battery life.

With smartphones being used for so much more than voice calls and emails these days, the four-year research project by a pair of Florida State University computer science professors and a cohort at the University of Pittsburgh is ever more pressing.

They'll be working to design a more energy-efficient processor for mobile embedded systems, an advance that could actually lower mobile device costs by simplifying the handhelds.

"The problem is that current techniques used in [more traditional] pipeline designs can waste power by performing redundant and sometimes unnecessary computations," said David Whalley, who is chair of the Department of Computer Science at Florida State, in a statement. He and Florida State colleague Gary Tyson already have a patent accepted and another under review related to low-power design.

This isn't the first time Whalley and Tyson have caught the NSF's eye. It is funding a separate $500,000 project in which they are trying to come up with a way to secure mobile computing environments by limiting malware outbreaks to as few systems as possible.

Gary Tyson, left, and David Whalley (photo: Michele Edmunds/FSU Photo Lab)

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