School of Informatics - University of Edinburgh Institute for Computing Systems Architecture - School of Informatics
Institute for Computing
Systems Architecture
CArD - Compiler and Architecture Design Group

Gadgets could go greener with high-speed computer chip

Posted by Igor Mon, 27 July 2009 09:00:00 GMT

EnCore Processor - Codename Calton

MP3 players and 4G mobile phones could be more energy efficient thanks to a new versatile microprocessor. The microprocessor, known as EnCore, delivers faster processing while using significantly less power and taking up less space than comparable devices.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have incorporated the microprocessor into a silicon chip, and a working prototype has been demonstrated in the laboratory. The microprocessor is configurable - meaning that it can be automatically customised for a particular application, and so is suitable for a variety of gadgets. The adaptability of the processor means that performance is not compromised by energy efficiency.

Multiple EnCore processors may be used together, creating high-performance multi-core systems for more demanding applications.

EnCore was developed as part of a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate new methods of developing computing devices.

Professor Nigel Topham, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, who developed the EnCore microprocessor, said: "Having seen this project through from the drawing board to a functioning computer, I am delighted with how well the chip performs in terms of its stability and low power consumption."

The EnCore microprocessor's architecture is compatible with the ARC600 family of processors from ARC International, with whom the university has a long record of collaboration. Professor Topham led the design of the ARC600 microprocessor in 2003.

Dr Geoff Bristow, President and CEO of ARC International, added: "Professor Topham is one of the leading microprocessor inventors in the world, and has built an expert team of specialist researchers at Edinburgh. We are proud that he has chosen the ARC600 as the base architecture for his new creation and we are looking forward to sponsoring his future work."

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