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A novel hardware-software cooperative power control scheme, namely a software feedback loop, is proposed to lower power consumption of VLSI systems. The proposed runtime voltage and frequency control scheme guarantees the real-time execution of applications. It avoids interface problems and also provides "binary-code compatibility". Using a software analysis environment, the power control scheme is shown to achieve more than 90% power reduction for real-time MPEG-4 SP@L1 video encoding, taking into consideration the transition delay between voltage and frequency levels.