DARPA wants more efficient computing systems

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon venture capital arm, is seeking ideas to develop more power-efficient processes in embedded computing systems, according to a request for proposals. Embedded systems are electronic components that control functionality of computer systems.

The RFP spotlights that existing computer systems don't process data quickly enough for military operations. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems today have sensors that collect far more information than can be processed in real time, reads the broad agency announcement. "As a result, what could be invaluable real-time intelligence data in the hands of our warfighters is simply discarded, or perhaps recorded and processed hours or days after it was collected," it adds.

The DARPA research program, which goes by the moniker Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies, or PERFECT, aims to design systems that reach a power efficiency of 75 giga floating point operations per second per watt. GFLOPS/w is a measure of the computing ability of a computer. Current embedded processing systems have power efficiencies of around 1 GFLOPS/w, according to the announcement. Read the full solicitation here.