To promote energy efficiency Harvard graduate Wonyoung Kim has developed and demonstrated a new device with the potential to reduce the power usage of modern processing chips. The “multi-core voltage regulator” (MCVR), almost instantly responds to changes in demand of voltage, which has the potential to solve the mismatch between power and demand.
(Credit: Image courtesy of Wonyoung Kim, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)
Imagine you’re listening to music your iPod MP3 player, the graphics and images processor doesn’t necessarily need power, and similarly if you’re looking at photos the audio processor or the hd video processor don’t need power. Essentially it is faster than other devices like it. It can decrease the voltage supplied by 1Volt in less than 20 nanoseconds. Additionally it uses an algorithm that recognises which parts of the processor aren’t in use at the moment and cuts power to them.
The fact that the device is on the chip means that even individual cores on one processor chip can be managed individually. The short distances between the MCVR and the processor chip further reduce time between changes in voltage.
The biggest supply currently for this device would be in the mobile phone market, although it could also be used in laptops to reduce the heat output of the processor which is currently the obstacle to slimmer laptops.
The device is also readily implemented in current chip designs, meaning that it doesn’t need radical changes in the way chips look, instead in can be incorporated in the chip design.