Now your computer could save large amounts of energy. Computer scientists at UC San Diego and Microsoft Research have created a plug-and-play hardware prototype for personal computers that induces a new energy saving state. It is known as “Sleep Talking.”
A large number of people keep their computers on even not in use, mainly because they want to stay connected to an internal network or the Internet or both.
- When a PC is in “Awake Mode” it consumes power even when not in use.
- When a PC in low power “Sleep Mode”, it saves a lot of power, but are inactive and unresponsive to network traffic.
- The new “Sleep Talking Mode” not only has the save-energy feature of Sleep Mode, but also takes some of the network and Internet connected conveniences of the Awake Mode.
Recently, a computer science Ph.D. student Yuvraj Agarwal presented this work at the USENIX Symposium on NSDI 2009. Computer scientists at UC San Diego and Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington and Cambridge, UK, collaborated on this project. Click here to view the research.
Yuvraj Agarwal said:
“I realized that most of the tasks that people keep their computers on for – like ensuring remote access and availability for virus scans and backup, maintaining presence on instant messaging (IM) networks, being available for incoming voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls, and file sharing and downloading – can be achieved at much lower power-use levels than regular awake mode.”
Soon after this realization, the team built a small USB-connected hardware and software plug-in system that allows a PC to remain in Sleep Mode while continuing to maintain network presence and run well-defined application functions.
Sleep talking mode supports:
- Instant messaging applications
- Large background web downloads
- Peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as BitTorrent
- Remote access.
The computer scientists named their system Somniloquy, which means “the act or habit of talking in one’s sleep.
“Somniloquy uses a very small low-power computer. It has a low-power processor, some memory, a lightweight operating system, and a small amount of flash to store data. Everything is scaled down and extremely energy efficient,” said Agarwal.
The idea behind all this is to encourage users to put computers in sleep mode as much as possible and help reduce the consumption of energy, as a result, save costs and reduce greenhouse gasses.