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Communications of the ACM


Is 'Good Enough' Computing Good Enough?

Is 'Good Enough' Computing Good Enough? illustration

Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares / MIT

Demand for information technology continues to grow, and computers have become an integral part of life. Most U.S. households now own multiple computing devices: 58% of American adults own a smartphone and 42% own a tablet computer, according to Pew Research. Ongoing technological developments and the Internet of Things mean more aspects of our lives are being computerized and connected, requiring ever more processing of data. Despite advances in reducing the power consumption of devices and in enhanced battery technology, today's computers continue to increase their energy use as the amount of computation increases, at a time when energy efficiency is being encouraged and demands on battery life increasingly scrutinized.

At the same time, as the drive to portability continues and hardware components become smaller, the amount of power they require to operate cannot be reduced to the same degree.


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