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'No-Sleep Energy Bugs' Drain Smartphone Batteries

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Smartphone battery


Purdue University researchers have proposed a method for automatically detecting software glitches in smartphones known as "no-sleep energy bugs," which can completely drain batteries when the phones are not in use.

"When there are no active user interactions, such as screen touches, every component, including the central processor, stays off unless an app instructs the operating system to keep it on," says Purdue professor Y. Charlie Hu.

Smartphone manufacturers make application programming interfaces (APIs) available to app developers to prevent the phone from going to sleep during background operations. However, Hu says programmers "make mistakes when using these APIs, which leads to software bugs that mishandle power control, preventing the phone from engaging the sleep mode."

The researchers' method automatically detects these no-sleep bugs. They found that their tool accurately detected all 12 previously known instances of no-sleep energy bugs, as well as 30 new ones. The tool adds new functionality to a basic compiler so that it can determine where no-sleep bugs might be. "The tool analyzes the binary code and automatically and accurately detects the presence of the no-sleep bugs," says Purdue professor Samuel Midkiff.

From Purdue University News
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