Boffins think small over phones and gadgets

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have has a design breakthrough.

The boffins in white coats have come up with another breakthrough that has the potential to make the lives of business and consumer users easier, by shrinking down the size of mobile phones and making them faster and more energy efficient.

The new computer design technique the brainchild of researchers at the University of Edinburgh also has the potential to maximise the battery life and cut production costs involved in the creation of mobiles, MP3 players and other gadgets.

Rather than creating a processor and adding a compiler to make the device run quickly the conventional method behind gadgetry design the scientists have made use of artificial intelligence (AI) to design both pieces of the jigsaw simultaneously.

The breakthrough is the result of experiments spanning millions of combinations of processors and compilers followed by statistical analysis of the best pairings.

"Using our method would enable designers to choose the best combination of components for their needs," said the research leader Dr Timothy Jones, from the university's School of Informatics. "For consumers, this means faster, smaller devices, producing less heat and with improved battery life. Overall, this means cheaper products on the market quicker."

The research, which was funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Union (EU), will be showcased at the International Conference on Compilers, Architecture, and Synthesis for Embedded Systems in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.