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the last five years since the introduction of power formats, using a side file
to describe power intent such as power domains, power modes and associated interface
logic has become the mainstream low power design methodology. This marks great
progress toward automating complex low power design techniques, but our job is
not done. A recent interview by Ed Sperling with Sorin Dobre of Qualcomm,
posted on the Low Power
highlighted some typical challenges faced by designers when using power
formats. If you were at DAC earlier this year in San Diego, you may have heard
Sorin presenting his thoughts on this at the Cadence booth theater, too.
foremost problem highlighted by Sorin is the methodology inconsistency. As he
points out, the methodology difference is not simply between CPF and IEEE 1801-2009,
the two leading open power format standards, but within IEEE 1801 itself. 1801,
also known as UPF 2.0, includes every feature of UPF 1.0, which was the
Accellera version of the Unified Power Format (UPF) published in 2007. Because "there are many
inconsistencies between UPF 1.0 and IEEE 1801," as Sorin states, there are
conflicting methodologies within 1801 itself. On the other hand, Sorin pin-pointed
the hierarchical methodology and macro modeling for custom IP as "well-defined
in CPF" and would like to see them ported to 1801 to improve low power design
verification and implementation.
goes on to explain that Qualcomm uses tools from multiple vendors which
requires an interoperable power format flow between CPF and UPF. However,
current methodology differences make the interoperable flow very difficult. In addition,
because CPF can describe more power intent information than the UPF they are
using, Sorin emphasized that "you need to make sure you do all the checks with
CPF so you have complete information."
There is clear demand from user companies to
have a converged power format. Here at Cadence, we agree that the first step
toward convergence is methodology convergence. Sorin also mentioned Si2's role
in this effort. In fact, Si2 contributed the Open Low Power
Methodology (OpenLPM) to IEEE to facilitate this process. We are
happy to see the industry converging on a unified low power methodology. While
working with the industry, Si2 and IEEE to drive in this direction, Cadence
remains committed to improving our CPF support and solidifying our low power
solution to meet all of our customers' needs.