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In this paper, we consider the problem of maximizing the battery life (or duration of service) in battery-powered CMOS circuits. We first show that the battery efficiency (or utilization factor) decreases as the average discharge current from the battery increases. The implication is that the battery life is a superlinear function of the average discharge current. Next we show that even if the average discharge current remains the same, different discharge current profiles (distributions) may result in very different battery lifetimes. In particular, the maximum battery life is achieved when the variance of the discharge current distribution is minimized. Analytical derivations and experimental results underline the importance of the correct modeling of the battery-hardware system as a whole and provide a more accurate basis (i.e., the battery discharge times delay product) for comparing various low-power optimization methodologies and techniques targeted toward battery-powered electronics. Finally, we calculate the optimal value of V/sub dd/ for a battery-powered VLSI circuit so as to minimize the product of the battery discharge times circuit delay.