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Anand Iyer
Anand Iyer
Anand Iyer dabbles in many areas of technology, but his passion has been clean energy and energy efficiency. He was instrumental to make Cadence Design Systems a low power technology leader when he managed the product marketing in Cadence for 7 years. Before Cadence, he was a designer and CAD … More »

Low power update

 
August 9th, 2009 by Anand Iyer

Hi All,

  Sorry for the long hiatus. In fact, I wrote my introduction in June and then I was off on a vacation until last week. I just got back after spending some time in India. Even though this is my second trip to India in 2 years, I never got a chance to look closer at all the changes that have happened in India, before this trip. Man, I was quite amazed with the changes. For one, the rise of affluence amongst people was quite apparent. You can see it in the high rise buildings, number of cars, shopping malls, use of packaged goods, etc. This brings to an interesting perspective in terms of low power and power management. What I found was that wastage was also common amongst people. It seemed like the waste of goods and other products was directly proportional to the increase in personal wealth. Ans the most appalling thing was the rampant waste of energy. In all the places I visited, people did not care whether a light in a room was on or the fan was running, if no other people were around. It is predicted by a Mckinsey study that India’s electricity demand will be 3X what it is today by 2017 if the growth continues at a rate of 8% (this was the growth rate last year). I am sure, a big % of this consumption will be wasted anyway. The conservation has to be ingrained in the soceity in order to prevent this wastage. It is really important to strive for better approaches to promote conservation. Speaking of conservation, I recently looked at the Energy Star specification – http://www.energystar.gov/. One of the startling fact is the amount of energy consumed by “so called” external power supplies. These are the power adapters that we use for powering the laptop, telephone, music player, camcorder, etc. With a 30% power reduction in these devices, power savings can be greater than the power savings that can be achieved in all the data centers! Sequence Design Automation’s CEO, Vik Kulkarni, called this out in his newsletter column “Kulkarni Korner”  recently – http://www.sequencedesign.com/newsevents/kulkarnis_corner_july2009.php

A big step in power management would be if someone can redesign the power supplies to make them power efficient. I heard that power efficiency was a prominent theme in this year’s DAC. Unfortunately, I did not attend DAC because of my trip to India. I had a chance to talk to Robert Smith, VP of Marketing, Magma before I went to India. I was curious to know the strategy behind Magma supporting Common Power Format in addition to the UPF support that they had announced earlier. Bob told me that customer requests were mainly the reason, but I could see a more confident Magma, listening and caring for its customers. Since then, Magma has released a number of announcements to get into multiple foundry reference flows. More later. Please feel free to express your comments.

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3 Responses to “Low power update”

  1. MG says:

    I am surprised by your comments on the “rampant wastage” of energy by people in India. My observation has been that even the reasonably affluent folks are quite energy conscious compared to other affluent societies. For instance, you will find widespread use of CFL lighting and little inclination towards decorative or recessed lighting. Most people will hang out their clothes to dry rather than use a dryer. Air conditioners are affordable but usually you will find only a room unit installed in a single room where the family packs in on hot afternoons. Compared to these energy-conscious practices, what is a little slack here and there in turning off the light or fan ?

    Having said that, I have to admit that there is terrible wastage at the infrastructure level. Transformers in many residential areas are obsolete and sometimes blow up. By the government’s own admission, transmission losses in the federal power grid are at a huge 50%.

  2. Anand Iyer Anand Iyer says:

    Hi MG,
    First of all, thank you for reading my posts and thanks for your comments. You are correct that a number of people are still quite energy-conscious, and are striving to achieve energy efficiency at all costs. But I have also observed a general apathy towards energy usage which I want to bring attention to. I attribute it to the rising wealth because that is the visible change that I observed in many years. We may be already doing 100 things out of our way to be energy efficient, which is commendable, but I wanted to bring attention to the couple of things that we are not doing, which are easier to do and has a considerable impact on energy efficiency.

    Thank you for your statistics on the energy infrastructure. You are correct that the infrastructure is ageing and in some places, it is there since pre-independence. I hope the situation changes. One thing that I noticed is that people are very resourceful. They dont wait for Government to take action. More on this later. Keep your comments coming. Thanks once again.

  3. Stephen Lam says:

    RT @TopsyRT: Low power update http://bit.ly/dnTabg

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