Check out the new USENIX Web site.

Home About USENIX Events Membership Publications Students
MobiSys '03 Abstract
Awarded Best Paper!

Energy Aware Lossless Data Compression

Kenneth Barr and Krste Asanovic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Wireless transmission of a bit can require over 1000 times more energy than a single 32-bit computation. It would therefore seem desirable to perform significant computation to reduce the number of bits transmitted. If the energy required to compress data is less than the energy required to send it, there is a net energy savings and consequently, a longer battery life for portable computers. This paper reports on the energy of lossless data compressors as measured on a StrongARM SA-110 system. We show that with several typical compression tools, there is a net energy increase when compression is applied before transmission. Reasons for this increase are explained, and hardware-aware programming optimizations are demonstrated. When applied to Unix compress, these optimizations improve energy efficiency by 51%. We also explore the fact that, for many usage models, compression and decompression need not be performed by the same algorithm. By choosing the lowest-energy compressor and decompressor on the test platform, rather than using default levels of compression, overall energy to send compressible web data can be reduced 31%. Energy to send harder-to-compress English text can be reduced 57%. Compared with a system using a single optimized application for both compression and decompression, the asymmetric scheme saves 11% or 12% of the total energy depending on the dataset.
  • View the full text of this paper in HTML and PDF.
    The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2003 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 16 May 2003 aw
Technical Program
MobiSys '03 Home