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Analog and Mixed-signal (AMS) designs are increasingly using active power management to minimize power consumption. Typical mixed-signal design uses several power domains and operate in a dozen or more power modes including multiple functional, standby and test modes. To save power, parts of design not active in a mode are shut down or may operate at reduced supply voltage when high performance is not required. These and other low power techniques are applied on both analog and digital parts of the design. Digital designers capture power intent in standard formats like Common Power Format (CPF), IEEE1801 (aka Unified Power Format or UPF) or Liberty and apply it top-down throughout design, verification and implementation flows. Analog parts are often designed bottom-up in schematic without upfront defined power intent. Verifying that low power intent is implemented correctly in mixed-signal design is very challenging. If not discovered early, errors like wrongly connected power nets, missing level shifters or isolations cells can cause costly rework or even silicon re-spin.
Mixed-signal designers rely on simulation for functional verification. Although still necessary for electrical and performance verification, running simulation on so many power modes is not an effective verification method to discover low power errors. It would be nice to augment simulation with formal low power verification but a specification of power intent for analog/mixed-signal blocs is missing. So how do we obtain it? Can we “extract” it from already built analog circuit? Fortunately, yes we can, and we will describe an automated way to do so!
Virtuoso Power Manager is new tool released in the Virtuoso IC6.1.8 platform which is capable of managing power intent in an Analog/MS design which is captured in Virtuoso Schematic Editor. In setup phase, the user identifies power and ground nets and registers special devices like level shifters and isolation cells. The user has the option to import power intent into IEEE1801 format, applicable for top level or any of the blocks in design. Virtuoso Power Manager uses this information to traverse the schematic and extract complete power intent for the entire design. In the final stage, Virtuoso Power Manager exports the power intent in IEEE1801 format as an input to the formal verification tool (Cadence Conformal-LP) for static verification of power intent.
Cadence and Infineon have been collaborating on the requirements and validation of the Virtuoso Power Manager tool and Low Power verification solution on real designs. A summary of collaboration results were presented at the DVCon conference in Munich, in October of 2018. Please look for the paper in the conference proceedings for more details. Alternately, can view our Cadence webinar on Verifying Low-Power Intent in Mixed-Signal Design Using Formal Method for more information.