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What's in store for P1801 (Unified Power Format)?

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:blog? UPF P1801? Unified Power Format?

By Karen Bartleson
The Standards Game

In a few short weeks, the IEEE draft standard, formally known as P1801: Draft Standard for Design and Verification of Low Power Integrated Circuits, will complete its ballot cycle. Assuming the final steps go smoothly (and I have no reason to believe they won't), our industry will have a new IEEE standard officially called 1801. The "P" and "Draft" will be removed as it receives final approval from the IEEE Standards Association.

Most of us know this standard as the Unified Power FormatUPF. Ratification by the IEEE-SA is a significant event, and the P1801 working group should be heartily congratulated. I think the best is yet to come, and I've saved it for the end of this article. (It's fair to peek ahead.)

In early 2007, UPF became an official Accellera standard. A year later, Accellera transferred UPF to the IEEE, as it always does, where it obtained the moniker P1801. It is an entity-based standard, jointly sponsored by the IEEE-SA's Corporate Advisory Group (CAG) and Design Automation Standards Committee (DASC).

Everyone following or participating in the standards game probably remembers the "standards war" associated with UPF and the alternative format, CPF. The outcome of which was phrased, "It's better to have 2 standards than 20.

As a multi-vendor backed standard, though, UPF had an advantage. Even two years ago, UPF had support from several vendors, not just one. A standard that doesn't have broad vendor support isn't really much of a standard.

So, what do I think will happen after P1801 becomes 1801?

Adoption will continue to increase. Not only will more new and existing EDA tools support the standard, but more customers will use it in their advanced, low power IC designs.

A new project will begin for the next major version of 1801. I've seen some interesting proposals on how to expand 1801 to cover areas beyond design and verification. Starting a new project in the IEEE means 1801 will again become P1801.

And convergence with CPF will finally occur. This will be the best part of all. A common industry standard for low power design and verification will satisfy what customers have needed all along.

- Karen Bartleson is part of the Synopsys Community. In her blog, The Standards Game, Karen shares her perspective on what's going on in the standards arena.

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