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Mildner Lecture - Low Power Technology Vision

Presented by ARM Chief Executive Warren East

UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering welcomed FTSE 100 ARM Holdings CEO Warren East on 11th July to give UCL’s biennial Mildner Lecture on the theme ‘Low Power Technology Enabling a Smarter Future’. ARM is the world’s largest designer of chips for smartphones, a leading provider of low power microprocessor technology and a true British industrial success story, with corporate headquarters in Cambridge.

Warren East, CEO for the last 11 years at the global semiconductor IP company and an engineer by training, discussed looking beyond Moore’s Law in the micro-processing industry and argued that delivering exponential improvements in energy efficiency is increasingly more important than improving processor speed. He described how ARM’s microprocessing technology is essential for the development of future “smart grids”: a large part of the UK governments’ plan to reduce carbon emissions by using less energy in homes and industry. UCL recently signed an agreement with technology giants Intel and Cisco to further research into smart grids and smart cities.

East outlined technological advances at ARM including the role of intelligent low power and system-on-chip devices that enable a more efficient use of energy and predicted future trends in developing nations as the next billion consumers begin to live connected lives in an increasingly inclusive and connected world. Looking at the data consumed on mobile phones, ARM expect that over the next decade globally an increase of between 30 and 100 times in the amount of data, but crucially only a twofold improvement in the energy capacity of a battery. That means ARM processors have to be 15 to 50 times more efficient in the work they do and that is has become a key focus of the company.

The business model of the company is based around partnership, including a broad range of partnerships with universities and East believes this is a key ingredient in the company’s success addressing the challenges of today’s designs, optimising systems on which the digitised 21st century world relies. These technologies are being applied to equipment ranging from networking infrastructure to high performance enterprise server platforms as further innovation in those areas has become dependent on raising performance within a reduced power budget. The next 5 to 8 years will see a continued drive toward distributed intelligence that will establish a new set of applications, such as healthcare monitoring and energy monitoring, that demand ultra-low power technologies. Increasingly, the technologies found in these sophisticated products is also finding application in making everyday electronic goods, like washing machines and vacuum cleaners, more energy efficient.

East’s theme was particularly relevant for The Mildner Memorial Lecture which is held in memory of Raymond Charles Mildner [1907-1977], an engineering graduate from UCL who made major contributions to the technology of power and communication cables, his work spanning an interdisciplinary spectrum from electromagnetic theory through to materials science. To the many talented, young electronic and electrical engineers who had been presenting their postgraduate and post-doctoral research posters to invited industry and academic guests in the afternoon, Warren East painted an exciting vision. He said “ARM network architecture is supporting enormous technological innovation globally. Our world is increasingly connected, with technology increasingly central to our daily lives.  It is an exciting time to be entering the engineering field. These students will be the technology leaders of the future, with the world at their fingertips.” Perhaps future Warren Easts and founders of successful companies like ARM were amongst the students present.

The Provost and President of UCL, Prof. Malcolm Grant said: “The UK certainly needs more ARMs and higher education, particularly UCL has an important role to play through world leading research and education, partnering with all levels of industry from SME to large corporation.”

Professor Alwyn Seeds, Head of UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering said: “UCL boasts England’s first Electrical Engineering Department, founded in 1885. It continues to be a pioneer of future technology through breakthrough research in low power optical network architectures and photonic information and communication technologies.”

Notes for editors
Contact details For more information, please contact Tim Bodley-Scott (tel: +44(0) 20 7679 3976 e-mail:
Images The image on the left of Warren East CEO can be obtained by calling Ellie Springett from ARM Holdings on +447881 244627 or by emailing
The UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
About The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL was the first department of Electrical Engineering to be established in England and now comprises some 200 researchers working on topics in communications and information systems, electronic materials and devices, optical networks, photonics and sensors, systems and circuits, with turnover exceeding £11 million. It has consistently been rated among the top ten UK Departments in its subject area in the UK Government's Research Assessment Exercise. 2012 has been another very successful year for the Department, awarded two EPSRC Programme Grants, totalling £11.3 million for work in photonic information and communication technologies.
University College London
About Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL is ranked fourth in the world and second in Europe in the 2010 QS World University. In the decade 1999-2009 it was the most cited university in Europe and the 13th most cited university in the world. UCL alumni include Marie Stopes, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf and Alexander Graham Bell. UCL currently has over 12,000 undergraduate and 8,000 postgraduate students. Its annual income is over £750 million.
ARM Holdings PLC
About ARM is a constituent of the FTSE 100. Under Warren’s leadership, ARM has matured into the world’s leading Semiconductor IP licensing company with more than 800 Microprocessor licenses sold to well over 200 semiconductor companies worldwide.
Warren East, Chief Executive, ARM Holdings
About In 1994, Warren joined ARM (Microprocessor IP) as General Manager of the Design Consulting Business Unit, and subsequently led the creation of ARM’s Development Tools Business Unit. When ARM became a public company in 1998 he took up the role of Vice President of Operations and later Chief Operating Officer before becoming Chief Executive Officer of ARM in 2001.

In Warren’s early career, he joined DataType Limited (terminal design & manufacture) as a Design Engineer working on oscillator subsystems for VDUs, RF Emissions measurements and standards compliance. He moved to Texas Instruments (Semiconductors) in 1983, where he worked on applications and chip design for Microcontrollers, analog telephone devices and Local Area Networks. Contributions included the design of very low power dialer chips, low system cost integrated analog voice circuits, PC modems and LAN adapter system designs. Later he took up responsibility for the marketing of TI’s FPGA devices in Europe.

He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and holds an honorary doctorate from Cranfield University. In 2007 Warren was named Business Leader of the Year at the National Business Awards, and was named in the Barron's 2011 list of the world's best 30 CEOs. He is a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of De La Rue plc. He is married with three children and lives in Cambridgeshire.