Mar./2006
(STRATEGIC PROPOSALS)
Ultra Lower Power (ULP) Technology/CRDS-FY2005-SP-02
Executive Summary

Along with the development of information society, numerous high-performance information devices have been networked and used in anywhere in the society. With the great development of systems and devices in recent years, the power consumption has also reached to the level unable to ignore. As a result, the issue of the power consumption has been focused on very often. On the basis of this situation, one of the important research themes we have to work on strategically and comprehensively in the information communication field is "Ultra Low Power." It is an extremely significant research in a variety of fields including the protection of natural environment, stimulation of economy, improvement of industrial technologies, and realization of safe and secured life environment.

Although intensive research effort is made for the realization of low power consumption devices in this field, it cannot be said that the research activity is not sufficiently made in the “upper layer” such as system and software. From such viewpoint, this strategic project proposes a hierarchical R&D aiming at "Ultra Low Power." The outline is as follows:

1. The R&D on "Ultra Low Power" is promoted by integrating all the layers such as system/software, architecture/VLSI (Very-Large-Scale Integrated circuit) design, and circuit/device.

2. The research themes include a wide range of technologies as: the system technology for providing the service quality of the information system that would be required by the networked society of 10 years from now with the minimum power consumption; or the control technology for adaptability managing the quality level in order to provide the service required with energy available in the given environment.

3. Aiming at epoch-making low power consumption. For example, a project lasting about five years is carried out and setting the goal for the power reduction at one tenth for each of the three layers (one thousandth in total) as the system/software, architecture/VLSI design, and circuit/device.

4. A project should be carried out under a strong project manager with the awareness of time base and involving the researchers of various fields.

5. The technology to be employed differs depending on the target level of the power consumption as: watt or higher (HPC: High Performance Computer, MPU: Micro Processor Unit); milliwatt level(portable and digital devices); and microwatt or less (sensor net/medical use). Japan has advantages in technology in the milliwatt level, therefore, we propose to start with the research on the milliwatt level first, and then expand the result to the other levels.