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Cadence, others form power initiative

Posted: 23 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Power Forward Initiative? IC design? power consumption? Cadence?

Cadence Design Systems Inc. announced yesterday the formation of the Power Forward Initiative, which aims to address obstacles to lower-power IC design facing the electronics industry. Along with Cadence, who is sponsoring the project, members of the initiative include Advanced Micro Devices, ARM, ATI Technologies Inc., Freescale Semiconductor, Fujitsu Ltd, NEC Electronics Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg Co.

The initiative intends to reduce risks and increase predictability in chip power reduction. Member companies will work together to adopt a new automated design infrastructure aimed at reducing power consumption in ICs.

To achieve its goal, the initiative charter calls for the fine-tuning and promotion of a new open specification for power, and links the design, implementation and verification domains, which will not be simple due to the sheer volume of design styles, tools and ecosystems the group needs to cover.

"Because of this breadth and the fact that there are no prior standards, we found that there are many different methodologies being used today by different companies," said Chi-Ping Hsu, vice president of synthesis solutions at Cadence. "We need to consolidate all these different approaches and move it forward to something that we can standardize and automate."

The group will collaborate in validating a design infrastructure this year, begin the standardization process in 2007, and form a standards body by 2008.

Cadence said it acknowledges the need for a method of specifying power-management design intent across the entire design chain. Initiative members will have access to the first version of the common power format.

The new specification language seeks to address limitations in the design automation tool flow by capturing the designer's intent for power management. The format is intended to capture all design- and technology-related power constraints in a single file and apply that file across the design flow, providing a consistent reference point for design development and production.

With many power issues confronting the industry over the years, a program such as the Power Forward Initiative is indeed long overdue. Implications of more efficient power management would range from reduced turnaround time for physical implementation to even longer cellphone battery life. The industry and its target markets are poised to benefit from the results of the project.

- Michael Martin Lea?o
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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