Researchers have developed a software tool that optimises a computer's functioning without compromising its safety features.
Currently, computer programs are incorporating more and more safety features, but they can also slow the programs down by 1,000 percent or more.
"These safety features or meta-functions can slow a program down so much that software developers will often leave them out entirely," says James Tuck, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering North Carolina State University, who led the project.
The researchers have developed a tool that takes advantage of multi-core (or multi-processor) computer chips by running the safety features on a separate core in the same chip, according to a North Carolina statement.
Currently chips contain between four and eight cores, allowing the main program to run at close-to-normal operating speed.
"To give you some idea of the problem, we saw the application we were testing being slowed down by approximately 580 percent," Tuck says.
"Utilising our software tool, we were able to incorporate safety meta-functions, while only slowing the program down by approximately 25 percent. That's a huge difference," he added.
This multi-core approach has been tried before, but previous efforts were unwieldy and involved replicating huge chunks of code -- a process that was time-consuming and used a great deal of power.