Time-sensitive Intermittent Computing Meets Legacy Software

Kortbeek V., Yildirim K. S. , Bakar A., Sorber J., Hester J., Pawelczak P.

25th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS), Lausanne, Switzerland, 16 - 20 March 2020, pp.85-99 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume:
  • Doi Number: 10.1145/3373376.3378476
  • City: Lausanne
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Page Numbers: pp.85-99


Tiny energy harvesting sensors that operate intermittently, without batteries, have become an increasingly appealing way to gather data in hard to reach places at low cost. Frequent power failures make forward progress, data preservation and consistency, and timely operation challenging. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art systems ask the programmer to solve these challenges, and have high memory overhead, lack critical programming features like pointers and recursion, and are only dimly aware of the passing of time and its effect on application quality. We present Time-sensitive Intermittent Computing System (TICS), a new platform for intermittent computing, which provides simple programming abstractions for handling the passing of time through intermittent failures, and uses this to make decisions about when data can be used or thrown away. Moreover, TICS provides predictable checkpoint sizes by keeping checkpoint and restore times small and reduces the cognitive burden of rewriting embedded code for intermittency without limiting expressibility or language functionality, enabling numerous existing embedded applications to run intermittently.