The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) has announced the availability of EEMBC ULPBench, a standardized, industry-developed and endorsed method to provide microcontroller vendors with accurate, reliable information on the efficiency of microcontrollers targeted at Ultra-Low Power (ULP) applications. ULP applications include portable or implantable medical devices, security systems, building automation, smart metering, energy-harvesting devices, smart-dust environment monitoring, and a whole host of cool applications targeting the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).
ULPBench consolidates a series of tests that EEMBC will roll out over time, accounting for a broad range of microcontroller functions and power efficiency. The first version, ULPBench-CP (core profile), measures CPU core efficiency, as well as the microcontroller’s real-time clock and calendar function (RTCC), and power modes. Subsequent versions will focus on real-world applications utilizing integrated hardware and peripheral functions.
To measure CPU core efficiency, ULPBench-CP performs a variety of functions commonly found in ULP applications; among them are memory and math operations, sorting, and GPIO interaction. ULPBench-CP uses the RTCC to establish the device’s duty cycle to determine when to perform the functions and when to enter a low-power mode. In addition to the software functions, the ULPBench methodology includes the EEMBC EnergyMonitor, an accurate tool for timing and measuring energy. On one side, the EnergyMonitor connects to the device under test (i.e. the microcontroller board), and on the other side to a PC through Universal Serial Bus (USB) and provides the user with an integrated Graphical User Interface (GUI) for convenient data capture and display.