Systems Seminar

EPFL IC Systems Seminar

Batteryless Intermittent Computer Systems


The emergence of extremely low-power computing components and efficient energy-harvesting power systems has led to the creation of computer systems that operate using tiny amounts of energy scavenged from their environment. These devices create opportunities for systems where batteries and tethered power are inapplicable: sensors deeply embedded in pervasive civil infrastructure, in-body health monitors, and devices in extreme environments like glaciers, volcanoes, and space. The key challenge is that these devices operate only intermittently, as energy is available, requiring both hardware and software to tolerate power failures that may happen hundreds of times per second. This talk will describe the landscape of intermittent computing systems as we have developed them. I will briefly describe our newest programming languages and software execution models that are robust to arbitrarily timed, frequent power failures, providing a simple programming model and reliable intermittent operation. I will discuss our latest hardware platform, Capybara, which enables applications to dynamically provision energy to different parts of an application. I will close with a discussion of our recent work on intermittent deep neural network inference and a recent deployment of an intermittent computer system work on a chip-scale satellite to low Earth orbit.


Brandon Lucia is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Lucia’s lab’s work spans programming languages, software and hardware computer systems, and computer architecture. Lucia and his research group are defining the area of intermittent computing on energy-harvesting devices, and developing future edge computing systems that make near-sensor computing more efficient on Earth and in deployments to Earth’s orbit. Lucia’s work has been recognized with a number of awards, including several best papers, 3 IEEE MICRO Top Picks and one IEEE MICRO Top Picks Honorable Mention, a 2016 Google Faculty Award, and the 2015 Bell Labs Prize.