Publication Details: UM-CS-2010-060

Mementos: System Support for Long-Running Computation on RFID-Scale Devices

Publication Type:Technical Report
Author(s):B. A. Ransford, J. M. Sorber, K. Fu
Abstract:Many computing systems include mechanisms designed to defend against sudden catastrophic losses of computational state, but few systems treat such losses as the common case rather than exceptional events. On the other end of the spectrum are transiently powered computing devices such as RFID tags and smart cards; these devices are typically paired with code that must complete its task under tight time constraints before running out of energy. Mementos is a software system that transforms general-purpose programs into interruptible computations that are protected from frequent power losses by automatic, energy-aware state checkpointing. Mementos comprises a collection of optimization passes for the LLVM compiler infrastructure and a linkable library that exercises hardware support for energy measurement while managing state checkpoints stored in nonvolatile memory.

We evaluate Mementos against diverse test cases and find that, although it introduces time overhead of up to 60% in our tests versus uninstrumented code executed without power failures, it effectively spreads program execution across zero or more complete losses of power and state. Other contributions of this work include a trace-driven simulator of transiently powered RFID-scale devices.