Electrical & Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Brandon Lucia and Ph.D. student Alexei Colin developed the first programming language for intermittently-powered computing devices, called Chain. Chain enables intermittently-powered systems to operate reliably, even when they are running on scarce energy harvested from their sources in their environment, like radio waves or solar energy. Chain makes possible a new wave of highly reliable IoT applications, implantable and ingestible medical devices, and other emerging applications. As a first deployment, Lucia's team is working together with nano-satellite company KickSat, as well as collaborators at Disney Research to send two tiny, postage-stamp-sized satellites into low-earth orbit. The satellites will operate using minuscule energy from tiny solar panels to collect and process sensor data and send information back to earth. While satellites are typically powered by solar energy, these satellites will be the first with strong software correctness guarantees furnished by Chain, ensuring continuous, reliable operation.
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