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Kevin Pipe’s Research Reaches Front Page of Wired

Kevin Pipe

The research of Associate Professor Kevin Pipe and ME graduate student Lei Shao recently appeared on the front webpage of Wired, a monthly magazine that reveals developing technology and discusses its potential after-effects on the modern world. The article is titled, “Your Future iPhone May Be Stuffed with Wax.”

The article, which was published on August 23rd, describes one of the prevalent concerns about microprocessors (the chips that are responsible for the functioning of all forms of computers) – particularly those found in smartphones and tablets. Because these systems do not have fans or other means of potent thermal management, they are forced to use relatively low-performance processors that do not dissipate significant heat.

Recognizing that many modern mobile applications are used in “bursty” modes in which processor computational demand is intermittent rather than continuous, the research team (which includes computer science faculty at UM and Penn) developed the idea of “computational sprinting” in which advanced multicore processors commonly found in desktop or server machines are placed in mobile packages and operated at full capacity only for short periods of time. This work received best paper awards at two recent computer architecture conferences in addition to other honors.

Pipe’s work, which is the focus of the Wired article, involves the integration of processor heat sinks with phase-change materials that can effectively provide a thermal buffer during computational sprinting.

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