SAN JOSE, Calif.--Ultra low power microcontrollers will get a new yard stick by this fall from the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium. EMBC’s ULP benchmark will measure energy consumed running workloads for chips targeting portable medical devices, security systems, building automation, smart meters and other devices that aim to run for years on a single battery.
“When these devices are in real low power modes it is not just about their execution times but how well they use sleep modes, how often they have to wake up processors and how much energy they waste,” said EEMBC President Markus Levy. “We will simulate measurements over a year or even a decade,” he said.
Just how the benchmark will operate is still under discussion by a working group headed by Horst Diewald, chief architect of MSP430 microcontrollers at Texas Instruments. Other companies represented in the group include Analog Devices, ARM, Microchip, Renesas and STMicroelectronics.
Atmel, Energy Micro and Silicon Labs have joined EMBC also are members of the working group. Lockheed Martin is an observer on the effort and an EMBC board member.
“We would like to have more system companies participate at least as advisers,” said Levy. “Once we get our first phase out, we may get more participants from systems companies."
Membership to EMBC costs $7,500 for the first year. The ULP group hopes to have an alpha version of its benchmark out to members before April and a publicly available version in the fall.