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The Art of Software Thermal Management for Embedded Systems

A new book on the art of controlling the thermodynamic behavior of computing systems with software, by Mark Benson.

Available at Springer


This book introduces Software Thermal Management (STM) as a means of reducing power consumption in a computing system in order to manage heat, improve component reliability and increase system safety.

Whereas most books on thermal management describe mechanisms to remove heat, this book focuses on ways to avoid generating heat in the first place.


Software-assisted power management extends battery life and reduces the production of heat.


Software thermal management extends component life and improves battery performance.


Acute temperature spikes adversely affect component reliability leading to a higher probability of system failure.


Managing thermal performance well leads to reduced chance of system failure and personal injury.

Learn the Fundamental Science of Thermodynamics for Software Engineers
Explains fundamentals of software thermal management as well as techniques and frameworks to make it happen

Break down Walls With Cross-Discipline Systems Design
Positions software engineers alongside electrical engineers and mechanical engineers when it comes to thermal management in complex embedded systems
Access a Catalog of Pragmatic Recipes for Managing the Cause of Heat in Computing Systems
Focuses on power management as a way to forego the generation of heat and provides a catalog of pragmatic approaches for doing so



Thermal performance is the new bottleneck in embedded systems design. As processing requirements have increased, and physical device sizes continue to decrease, it has become more and more difficult to get heat out of embedded systems. By the end of this part of the book, you should have a good grasp of the field of Software Thermal Management, its origins, major problems, and general approaches for solving problems that arise.

CHAPTER 1: Introduction to Software Thermal Management
ABSTRACT: Software Thermal Management is the study and application of managing the thermal performance of a system using software. This chapter intro- duces the concept of software thermal management, the growing need for it given the forward-looking growth of the microcontroller market, and a discussion of whether Software Thermal Management is a science, an art form, or both.
CHAPTER 2: Landscape: History, Present Barriers, and The Road Forward
ABSTRACT: Software Thermal Management is a systems level concern that con- siders schematic capture, Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layout, mechanical design, materials science, software engineering, and use-case scenarios. The landscape is large and approaches are not standardized. This chapter reviews the history of Moore’s Law, the limitations of parallelism, and the special role that software engi- neers have to play when managing thermals in an embedded system.
CHAPTER 3: Roots: A Bedrock of Giants
ABSTRACT: This chapter describes the field of Software Thermal Management, including its history, roots in thermodynamics and electrical engineering and software engineering, reasons for existence, key problems to solve, and common solutions and approaches.


In the field of Software Thermal Management, there are common techniques and frameworks that can be used to solve thermal problems before they become symptomatic. The following chapters describe a catalog of approaches. This part of the book is meant as a reference, for you to flip through or come back to later when looking for inspiration on things to try when managing thermal performance in an embedded system using software.

CHAPTER 4: Techniques: Putting the Silicon to Work
ABSTRACT: This chapter describes a set of common techniques than can be used to manage or mitigate thermal issues in an embedded system using software. Most techniques described in this chapter require hardware support, which varies by processor, but tend to use similar patterns. Those patterns are described here.
CHAPTER 5: Frameworks: Choreographing the Parts
ABSTRACT: In order for thermal management to succeed at the system level, software must be able to coordinate the hardware to save power during off-peak times, and scale to meet the demand when needed. This chapter describes a set of frameworks that can be used to manage thermal performance of an embedded system at the software level.
CHAPTER 6: Frontiers: The Future of Software Thermal Management
ABSTRACT: The field of Software Thermal Management is young. Although derived from firmly-rooted studies in thermodynamics, electronics component design, electrical engineering, and software engineering, there are a number of unanswered questions and opportunities for the de-fragmentation of approaches. This chapter contains a list of suggested areas for future research to advance the field of Soft- ware Thermal Management.