WARF: P140276US01

New Hardware Helps Cell Phones, Tablets Save Power


Nam Sung Kim, Srinivasan Narayanamoorthy

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing an energy-efficient multiplier circuit that provides a flexible tradeoff between power and accuracy in portable devices.
OVERVIEWEnergy efficiency is important in mobile electronics such as smart phones and tablets because of their size and reliance on battery power. At the same time, these kinds of devices must perform increasingly sophisticated tasks like speech and gesture recognition.

Such tasks require large numbers of multiplication operations. High-speed multiplications typically are handled by specialized circuits that consume lots of energy and drain battery life.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a more energy-efficient multiplier circuit for portable electronics. The circuit performs ‘dynamic truncation,’ reducing the size of operands to capture their most important bits. This allows multiplication to be performed using a much smaller multiplier, significantly reducing energy consumption.

Dynamic truncation works by preserving computationally important bits and providing approximations that are satisfactory for most applications.
  • Processors for wireless devices, where power is prioritized over strict accuracy
  • Balances power usage and accuracy
  • Provides dramatic gains in energy efficiency
  • Improves error reduction
  • Can be implemented with standard hardware
  • Simplifies multiplier circuitry
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe new multiplier can consume 58 percent less energy per operation, with an average computational error of about one percent. Such minor errors do not notably impact digital signal processing quality or the accuracy of classification applications.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.