The IEEE RevCom (Review Committee) approved a new version of the IEEE 1801 low power format, also known as the Unified Power Format (UPF), March 5. The new version is IEEE 1801-2013 or UPF 2.1. It's a significant step towards "methodology convergence" with the Common Power Format (CPF), which is maintained by the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) Low Power Coalition. While Cadence originated CPF and remains actively involved in its development, Cadence also played an active role in the development of IEEE 1801-2013.
In the following short video interview John Biggs, principal engineer at ARM and IEEE 1801 chair, talks about what's new with IEEE 1801-2013 compared to the previous IEEE 1801-2009 (UPF 2.0) version. He gives examples of improved semantics, notes that some old UPF 1.0 commands have been removed, and describes some new features such as the ability to attribute pins and cells in the library. With the new version, he says, interoperability with CPF is "certainly a lot easier than it used to be."
"It's been great having Cadence on board for this version of the standard," Biggs says in the video. "They've been a significant contributor to the development of UFP 2.1." He also notes that Si2 contributed the full text of CPF 2.0 to IEEE 1801, resulting in some changes that helped with interoperability.
Since both CPF and UPF were developed as RTL-to-GDSII standards, and the greatest potential for power savings is at the system level, I asked whether there's any discussion in IEEE 1801 about addressing system-level design (as there is within the Si2 Low Power Coalition). Indeed there is such a discussion, and Biggs has some interesting perspectives on the challenges involved. Do we start at a high level and add more details, or start at a low level and add more abstraction? It's a good question for the industry to ponder.
This video was made at the DVCon conference just a few days before the official IEEE RevCom approval. If the video icon below fails to open, click here to view the 5-minute video.