Eliminating “competitors” by not giving them enough energy

One of possible strategies for differentiating some types of electronics from other types is to stage a “power-modulated competition” between them, by gradually tuning power source in different ways, for example in terms of power levels, either through voltage level or/and current level, also in dynamic sense as well. The circuits that require stable and sufficiently high level of voltage will be gradually eliminated from the race … Only those who can survive through the power dynamic range context will pass through the natural selection!

Building such a test bed is an interesting challenge by itself!

Newcastle Electromagnetism Seminar with Ivor Catt and David Walton

I have just held (on Wed. 9th October 2013) a unique research event at Newcastle, a seminar on Electromagnetism, with Ivor Catt and David Walton speaking about their unconventional electromagnetic theory (based on Oliver Heaviside’s notion of energy current).

What motivated me to organize this seminar:

Why Electromagnetism? It is because there is quite a lot of interesting knowledge in the work of Ivor Catt’s team on TEM that could and should be discussed with academics and young researchers working with one or another side of electromagnetic theory in their specific areas, including Power Electronics and Microsystems.

Why Newcastle? Because there is a close connection between David Walton with Newcastle, facts that Oliver Heaviside sent his Morse pulses from Newcastle, good research community here, who have natural curiosity and are not afraid of controversy.

The details of the seminar and the videos of the lectures can be found here:




Technical report about survival instincts in electronic systems



I wrote this article as a chapter to Peter Cheung’s 60th birthday Festschrift.

Here is the abstract:

The writing of this paper has been inspired by the motivating ideas of
incorporating self-awareness into systems that have been studied by
Prof Cheung in connection to dealing with variability and ageing in
nano-scale electronics. We attempt here to exploit the opportunities for
making systems self-aware, and taking it further, see them in a
biological perspective of survival under harsh operating conditions.
Survivability is developed here in the context of the availability of
energy and power, where the notion of power-modulation will navigate
us towards the incorporation into system design of the mechanisms
analogous to instincts in human brain. These mechanisms are
considered here through a set of novel techniques for reference-free
sensing and elastic memory for data retention. This is only a beginning
in the exploration of system design for survival, and many other
developments such as design of self-aware communication fabric are
further on the way.

Making the most of energy

An article about my group’s research on energy-modulated computing has been published by International Innovation. 


International Innovation is the leading global dissemination resource for the wider scientific, technology and research communities, dedicated to disseminating the latest science, research and technological innovations on a global level. More information and a complimentary subscription offer to the publication can be found at: www.researchmedia.eu

Asynchronous Static RAM demo video

It is now possible to see the video of our demo of the Self-timed SRAM, as it works (Write and Read) under a wide range of power supply conditions:

(1) stable levels of Vdd in the range from 1.2V down to 0.4V; and

(2) with a run-time varying supply from our Capacitor-Bank power supply (second box in the setup).


towards survival instincts in computing systems

I have recently talked about developing survival instincts in computing systems. This opens up an interesting paradigm for designing autonomous systems for applications that require them to be on earth, underwater and in space. The conditions for operation of such systems are often harsh, unpredictable and it seems most natural to look for analogies to envisage the ways of their design in the nature, in animals and humans, particularly looking at the nervous systems. Another important pathway to such systems would be to look how energy affects their behaviour and how power levels activate various layers of instinct mechanisms …

These were the ideas that I discussed in my keynote talk at NoCArc’12 in Vancouver  (http://www.unikore.it/nocarc/index.html).

Here are the slides http://www.unikore.it/nocarc/slides/yakovlev.pdfand and video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgcugX44EIg&feature=youtu.befrom


Dream Fellowship

I have just been awarded an EPSRC ICT Dream Fellowship.

The main goals are to create ideas, generate interesting problems and projects in the area of Energy-aware Computing.

Here are some excerpts from my application:

This is both a unique opportunity and a challenge for me as I set my aims at identifying a coherent set of problems to work on after this Fellowship. Such challenges are sometimes associated with searching not only for solutions to what we don’t know, but also for the things we don’t know that we don’t know. My main area has for years been electronic systems engineering. By thinking and engaging creative processes in this area, it is first of all important to see where calls for creativity originate. Obviously, these calls come from real life, from the needs of society and industries where electronics is enabling technology. Focusing further, such calls can be found in the links and synergies between the pivotal areas of ICT, which increasingly share common values and criteria: quality of service, usability, cost-efficiency, performance, dependability, and how they interact with the provision of resources. Semiconductor technology permits formidable concentration of electronic devices and electrical power on small areas of a silicon die. At the same time, engineering processes, involving software and hardware, can no longer sustain this growth; they require the design and test processes to be much more resource-conscious. Green, energy-frugal, power-proportional are qualities of computer systems that people begin to use now. Numerous examples bring up the issue of resource and energy-awareness into computing and electronics. From the energy supply perspective, battery life, energy harvesting, power control and regulation are changing systems engineering practices. From the energy consumption viewpoint, the high end of the spectrum is occupied by mammoth data plants (e.g. Google plant in Oregon was estimated to require 103MWatt of power, enough to supply every home in Newcastle). In the middle, there are many-core chips, such as Intel’s 48-core SCC, consuming between 25-125W. The low end of the spectrum is systems that interface to biological organisms, where power constraints are at the level of microwatts. Over the years system design methodologies developed completely relying on feature scaling and availability of as many resources as needed in order to satisfy their performance appetites. However, architecting systems solely on the principles of hierarchy and object-orientation, without proper account of underlying resources often leads to inefficiency, likewise does the full decentralisation of control and distribution of resources on principles of local optima.

One of the important achievements of this fellowship could be obtaining an evolutionary roadmap for electronic system design which is “modulated” by the energy aspect. In working towards this goal, I will think about issues involving energy characterisation of components and devices of different functionality and nature, interplay between energy and dependability, power constraints and quality of service, an idea of “energetic effort” for design criteria, possible role of game-theoretic approaches in resource-driven computing and various modelling and meta-modelling techniques, as well as design automation issues.
The other two important achievements would be: knowledge-transfer routes for providing industry with new design paradigms, methodologies and tools for energy-frugal systems, as well as mechanisms for enthusing a new generation of your researchers about creativity.

more to follow ….