The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded Columbia University $2.8 million in Recovery Act economic stimulus funding to design power converters that efficiently regulate voltage for multi-core processors right on the chip, which could save U.S. data centers billions of kilowatts of energy yearly.
IBM Research and Cornell University will also participate in the program to design on-chip voltage regulator modules using advanced magnetic induction methods.
“What we want to do is bring power onto chips at a higher voltage and down-convert it on the IC itself,” said project leader Kenneth Shepard, a professor of electrical engineering at Columbia. “In a multicore processor you are also going to want different cores to operate at different supply voltages. So if you have 128 cores you’ll want 128 regulators, which is why we want to do it on the chip.”