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How smart is your smartphone?

Posted on December 30, 2013

Undergraduate engineering student James Bornholt has been  invited to attend the ASPLOS international conference in the United States to present his paper ‘Uncertain < T >: A First-Order Type for Uncertain Data’ early next year.

Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS) is an annual conference held in Salt Lake City and is a prestigious event for any undergraduate to be invited to. It attracts industry, academia and people with an interest in the technologies of computer science.

James worked on his paper as part of his recent internship with Microsoft Research whilst under the supervision of Todd Mytkowicz and Kathryn McKinley.

James describes uncertainty as “the bane of software developers” due to its nature of making computers unpredictable and uses the example of a GPS on your smartphone.

“It only estimates your location, so sometimes it does ridiculous things like showing you driving through water.

“Uncertain < T > lets developers wrangle this uncertainty, by reasoning about the error in data. This can make applications like GPS more accurate and also has the potential to improve energy efficiency,” he said.

As well as decreasing the uncertainty in our GPS trackers, mobile devices that use Uncertain < T > can also save precious battery life. This is achieved by decreasing the uncertainty of the programs, meaning the sensors in our phones don’t need to be as accurate, allowing them to use less power while still achieving the same end results.

Kathryn McKinley is proud of the recognition the paper is receiving, “this paper represents a huge success for our collaboration in this critical area, as innovation is flourishing on mobile devices, but the battery is a scarce resource. Furthermore, it is just a start as we seek to influence programming languages used on mobile devices.”

James is thrilled that the paper was accepted for publication at ASPLOS.

“Working on this project for the past year, with my friends at Microsoft Research, has been great fun and a wonderful learning experience. I’m looking forward to presenting our work at the conference in Salt Lake City in March next year.”

View James’ Uncertain < T > paper here.

Source: ANU

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