Just as there are frictional losses in moving a weight on a surface, there are also frictional losses in moving information on a substrate. This "information-friction" has received little attention within both theoretical computer science and information theory. But it is important in both! I will discuss our work at the intersection of both fields: information-frictional losses in the circuitry at the transmitter and the receiver of a communication system.
From a theoretical perspective, I will show how accounting for these losses leads to a novel understanding of total energy consumed in a communication system that goes beyond the transmit-power-centric Shannon theory. For instance, we show that approaching the Shannon-limit on transmit power is fundamentally accompanied with increasing amounts of power in the encoding/decoding circuitry (in both circuit gates and circuit wires). Thus the total-power-minimizing strategies must operate far from the Shannon limit.
From a practical perspective, our early results–that rely on circuit simulations for power consumption estimation–show that novel total-power-optimizing strategies can lead to substantial power reductions in short-distance communication systems. I will discuss two applications (i) mm wave wireless, and (ii) data-center Ethernet.
Pulkit Grover obtained his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 2010, and M.Tech. and B.Tech. degrees from IIT Kanpur in 2005 and 2003, respectively. He is an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the ECE department. He is the recipient of the best student paper award at the IEEE Conference in Decision and Control 2010, and the 2012 Leonard G. Abraham best paper award from the IEEE Communications Society for his work on energy-efficient communication. For his dissertation, he received the 2011 Eli Jury Award from the EECS dept. at the University of California, Berkeley. His interest is in the development of information science for making distributed systems (such as communication or control systems) energy-efficient and stable.