System and Toolchain Support for Reliable Intermittent Computing

Emerging energy-harvesting devices (EHDs) are computer systems that operate using energy extracted from their environment, even from low-power sources like ambient radio-frequency energy. Future EHDs will be a key enabler of emerging IoT applications, but today’s EHDs operate intermittently, only as environmental energy is available. Unfortunately, intermittence makes today’s EHDs unreliable and extremely difficult to program. In this talk I will summarize the main challenges of intermittent execution. I will then discuss our recent efforts to develop future architecture, system, and toolchain support for EHDs to address the challenges of intermittence, focusing especially on programmability, debugging, and reliability. I will close by discussing our recent work on building a reliable, EHD-based, hardware/software application platform.

Speaker Details

Brandon Lucia is an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Brandon’s research focuses on redefining computer architectures and systems that make increasingly pervasive, often safety-critical, devices reliable, energy-efficient, and programmable. Brandon and his lab are currently focusing on defining the system stack for systems with intermittently available energy and resources, as well as on redefining parallel architectures to improve their efficiency, correctness, and reliability, exploiting heterogeneity and approximation. Brandon’s work targets the boundaries between computer architecture, compilers, system software, and programming languages. Brandon’s research group is supported by the National Science Foundation, Google, and Disney Research. Brandon received a 2015 Google Faculty Research Award, the 2015 Bell Labs Prize, a 2015 OOPSLA Distinguished Paper Award, and a 2015 OOPSLA Distinguished Artifact Award. Before joining CMU, Brandon had the distinct pleasure of being a Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond. Brandon earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington in 2013, and a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Tufts University. Brandon’s personal website is, his research group is at, and his band netcat is at

Brandon Lucia
Carnegie Mellon University

Series: Microsoft Research Talks