12 Jul 2012
ARM CEO Presents Low Power Technology Vision at UCL
The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London, UCL welcomed FTSE 100 ARM Holdings CEO Warren East on 11th July to give UCLâs biennial Mildner Lecture on the theme âLow Power Technology Enabling a Smarter Futureâ.
ARM is the worldâs largest designer of chips for smartphones, a leading provider of low power microprocessor technology and a true British industrial success story, with corporate headquarters in Cambridge.
Warren East, CEO for the last 11 years at the global semiconductor IP company and an engineer by training, discussed looking beyond Mooreâs Law in the micro-processing industry and argued that delivering exponential improvements in energy efficiency is increasingly more important than improving processor speed. He described how ARMâs microprocessing technology is essential for the development of future âsmart gridsâ: a large part of the UK governmentsâ plan to reduce carbon emissions by using less energy in homes and industry. UCL recently signed an agreement with technology giants Intel and Cisco to further research into smart grids and smart cities.
East outlined technological advances at ARM including the role of intelligent low power and system-on-chip devices that enable a more efficient use of energy and predicted future trends in developing nations as the next billion consumers begin to live connected lives in an increasingly inclusive and connected world. Looking at the data consumed on mobile phones, ARM expect that over the next decade globally an increase of between 30 and 100 times in the amount of data, but crucially only a twofold improvement in the energy capacity of a battery. That means ARM processors have to be 15 to 50 times more efficient in the work they do and that is has become a key focus of the company.
The business model of the company is based around partnership, including a broad range of partnerships with universities and East believes this is a key ingredient in the companyâs success addressing the challenges of todayâs designs, optimising systems on which the digitised 21st century world relies. These technologies are being applied to equipment ranging from networking infrastructure to high performance enterprise server platforms as further innovation in those areas has become dependent on raising performance within a reduced power budget. The next 5 to 8 years will see a continued drive toward distributed intelligence that will establish a new set of applications, such as healthcare monitoring and energy monitoring, that demand ultra-low power technologies. Increasingly, the technologies found in these sophisticated products is also finding application in making everyday electronic goods, like washing machines and vacuum cleaners, more energy efficient.
Eastâs theme was particularly relevant for The Mildner Memorial Lecture which is held in memory of Raymond Charles Mildner [1907-1977], an engineering graduate from UCL who made major contributions to the technology of power and communication cables, his work spanning an interdisciplinary spectrum from electromagnetic theory through to materials science. To the many talented, young electronic and electrical engineers who had been presenting their postgraduate and post-doctoral research posters to invited industry and academic guests in the afternoon, Warren East painted an exciting vision. He said âARM network architecture is supporting enormous technological innovation globally. Our world is increasingly connected, with technology increasingly central to our daily lives. It is an exciting time to be entering the engineering field. These students will be the technology leaders of the future, with the world at their fingertips.â Perhaps future Warren Easts and founders of successful companies like ARM were amongst the students present.
The Provost and President of UCL, Prof. Malcolm Grant said: âThe UK certainly needs more ARMs and universities, particularly UCL, have an important role to play through world leading research and education, partnering with all levels of industry from SME to large corporation.â
Professor Alwyn Seeds, Head of UCLâs Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering said: âUCL boasts Englandâs first Electrical Engineering Department, founded in 1885. It continues to be a pioneer of future technology through breakthrough research in low power optical network architectures and photonic information and communication technologies.â
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