There is tremendous technological potential for the Computers that harvest energy from vibrations, heat, solar energy and radio waves. But these energy sources provide only discontinuous power which makes the energy-harvesting computers undependable. The root cause is in programming.
Brandon Lucia, an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University elaborated in a news release:
“Energy is not always available in the environment for a device to harvest. Intermittent operation makes it difficult to build applications because existing software programming languages — and programmers themselves — assume that energy is a continuously available resource.”
Lucia and his friends at CMU seem to have found a way out of this problem using a new Computer programming language, Chain. This new language will make sure that the programs can resume from where they faced an interruption due to a major power outage.
Lucia continued to explain:
“When power is not continuously available, power failures disrupt the software’s execution, often leading to unrecoverable errors. Chain solves this problem by requiring computational tasks in the program to use a novel channel-based memory abstraction that ensures tasks complete without error.”
The researchers are working on to install the software which is based on Chain on an energy-harvesting satellite. The programming language will make sure that it will collect, store and transmit the data to Earth by relying on less power resources.
If we can guarantee that even tiny, energy-harvesting satellites operate without interruption, we can make it easier to conduct other scientific research in space. Further out, we may even see future applications like extraterrestrial natural resource discovery relying on this technology.
Lucia and his team are gearing up to showcase their programming language at SPLASH conference in Amsterdam.