STEAM: A Smart Temperature and Energy Aware Multicore Controller


Increasing power consumption and temperature hotspots on modern processors necessitates intelligent thermal and power management techniques. The operating system (OS) plays a crucial role in guaranteeing performance and achieving energy savings. Many solutions have been proposed within processor architecture and OS domain for efficient utilization of task migration, but they are impractical and cannot be implemented in an OS. Existing architectural and OS techniques lack coordinated hardware and software mechanisms for energy management, resulting in sub-optimal energy efficiency. In particular, task scheduling and task migrations decisions result in thermal hotspots that limit the maximum performance that can be extracted from a processor, thereby decreasing the energy efficiency or performance-per-dollar value.

Researchers at Arizona State University have invented a method of providing a new infrastructure within an OS which allows a user to select a particular policy for energy efficiency and performance. An OS subsystem is integrated into an OS scheduler to facilitate task scheduling and task migration decisions based on task characteristics to achieve highest energy efficiency under user- defined performance and thermal constraints specified for the processor. Thermal and power aware task migration is enabled on homogenous and heterogeneous platforms.

Potential Applications

  • Power management
  • Personal electronics
  • Supercomputers
  • Semiconductors

Benefits and Advantages

  • Versatility –
    • User selectable system-wide power management policies.
    • Contemporary OS (such as Linux) can work on heterogeneous architectures.
  • Energy efficient – Advanced thermal and power management techniques are coupled with task migration to enhance OS efficiency.
  • Speed – Enables hot-plugging of feedback controller in operating system.
  • Simplicity - Unified solution integrating all architecture features to achieve user set objectives for energy efficiency.
  • Low-Cost – Can be easily integrated into most popular operating systems.

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see

Dr. Sarma Vrudhula's directory webpage

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