Home → Magazine Archive → December 2016 (Vol. 59, No. 12) → Software-Defined Batteries → Abstract

Software-Defined Batteries

By Anirudh Badam, Ranveer Chandra, Jon Dutra, Anthony Ferrese, Steve Hodges, Pan Hu, Julia Meinershagen, Thomas Moscibroda, Bodhi Priyantha, Evangelia Skiani

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 59 No. 12, Pages 111-119

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Different battery chemistries perform better on different axes, such as energy density, cost, peak power, recharge time, longevity, and efficiency. Mobile system designers are constrained by existing technology, and are forced to select a single chemistry that best meets their diverse needs, thereby compromising other desirable features. In this paper, we present a new hardware–software system, called Software Defined Battery (SDB), which allows system designers to integrate batteries of different chemistries. SDB exposes application programming interfaces (APIs) to the operating system, which controls the amount of charge flowing in and out of each battery, enabling it to dynamically trade one battery property for another depending on application and/or user needs. Using micro-benchmarks from our prototype SDB implementation, and through detailed simulations, we demonstrate that it is possible to combine batteries which individually excel along different axes to deliver an enhanced collective performance when compared to traditional battery packs.

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1. Introduction

The utility of a mobile device is often constrained by the capabilities of its battery. While integrated circuit performance has doubled every 18 months according to Moore's law, the same is far from true for battery technology. Battery performance can be evaluated in many different ways (see Table 1), but no matter which metric we look at, it has taken more than a decade to double performance.


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