In this IEEE podcast, Stanford’s Jonathan Koomey discusses his recent paper looking at the Moore’s Law–like exponential progress in the energy efficiency of computers over the past six decades.
So, if these trends continue—and my friends at Intel say that they have at least another 10 years of these performance and efficiency trends improving—if they continue, they basically bode well for the increased sophistication and lower-power use of mobile computing centers and controls. So doubling every year and a half means over the course of 10 years, the efficiency of computers will go up by a factor of 100. So that means that we will have the ability to have more and more mobile centers that use less and less power to collect information and also to bring it back to some wireless base station. The people who are doing the most interesting work now are focused on ultralow power computing that was never before possible. And so Josh Smith, who’s at Intel and also the University of Washington, is working with mobile centers that have no power source. No battery. They use the power from stray television and radio signals to power themselves. And that means that you’re free from the constraint of having to have a power source.