An Energy-Interference-Free Hardware-Software Debugger for Intermittent Energy-Harvesting Systems


Alexei Colin (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Graham Harvey (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Brandon Lucia (Carnegie Mellon University)
Alanson Sample (Disney Research Pittsburgh)

International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS) 2016

April 2, 2016

An Energy-interference-free Hardware-Software Debugger for Intermittent Energy-harvesting Systems-Image

Energy-autonomous computing devices have the potential to extend the reach of computing to a scale beyond either wired or battery-powered systems. However, these devices pose a unique set of challenges to application developers who lack both hardware and software support tools. Energy harvesting devices experience power intermittence which causes the system to reset and power-cycle unpredictably, tens to hundreds of times per second. This can result in code execution errors that are not possible in continuously powered systems and cannot be diagnosed with conventional debugging tools such as JTAG and/or oscilloscopes. We propose the Energy-interference-free Debugger, a hardware and software platform for monitoring and debugging intermittent systems without adversely effecting their energy state. The Energy-interference-free Debugger re-creates a familiar debugging environment for intermittent software and augments it with debugging primitives for effective diagnosis of intermittence bugs. Our evaluation of the Energy-interference-free Debugger quantifies its energy-interference-freedom and shows its value in a set of debugging tasks in complex test programs and several real applications, including RFID code and a machine-learning based activity recognition system.

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