Pentagon invests in power-efficient embedded computing tech

Defense Department file photo

SRI International and Reservoir Labs nab $15 million in funding.

The Pentagon’s venture capital arm dished out $15 million to back the development of computer components that use power more efficiently, contracting documents indicate.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency pushed $6.3 million to Silicon Valley-based SRI International and $8.7 million to New York-based Reservoir Labs to push for energy-efficient embedded systems -- electronic parts that control the functions of computers.

The money came out of the funding initiative Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies, which aims to “provide more effective embedded computing per watt of electrical power,” government documents state. The algorithms and hardware created under the program would address the limited computational capabilities that hamper military and intelligence systems. Many of the technology devices deployed on the battlefield have sensors that collect more information than can be processed in real-time.

SRI International was most famously associated with Siri, a venture that created the voice-activated digital assistant now found in Apple’s newer iPhones. Reservoir Labs assists the U.S. government in developing compilers -- tools that transform code written in one programming language into machine code understood by processors -- to support new computer architectures.