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Top Story

AI tool automatically reveals how to write apps that drain less battery

To send a text message, there's not only "an app for that," there are dozens of apps for that. So why does sending a message through Skype drain over three times more battery than WhatsApp? Developers simply haven't had a way of knowing when and how to make their apps more energy-efficient. National Science Foundation-funded researchers have created a new tool, called "DiffProf," that uses artificial intelligence to automatically decide for the developer if a feature should be improved to drain less battery and how to make that improvement. How code runs can dramatically differ between two apps, even if the developers are implementing the same task. DiffProf catches these differences in the "call trees" of similar tasks to show why the messaging feature of one messaging app consumes more energy than another messaging app. DiffProf then reveals how to rewrite the app to drain less battery. So far, the DiffProf prototype has only been tested for the Android mobile operating system.

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