Does EDA Consider RTL Power Optimization As Job Done?

While EDA shifts its primary focus onto System Level Power Optimization, RTL Power Optimization is just hitting mainstream deployment.


The “Power Buzz” leading into this year’s Design Automation Conference was around System Level Power Architecture and Optimization—some would say the natural progression of EDA towards the next big customer design challenge. This does beg the question of whether EDA considers RTL Power Optimization a mature solution. All products or solutions progress through various stages of maturity, for example: early adoption, mainstream usage, maintenance mode and finally end-of-life. Where are we realistically in terms of solution maturity and deployment for RTL Optimization?

If the traffic on the DAC exhibit floor was any indication, the major providers of Power Optimization solutions are strongly promoting their capabilities. The primary goal of attendees (designers, methodology experts, managers) was to learn about new capabilities or gather competitive information. The dynamics indicate that RTL Power Optimization is now hitting mainstream deployment. This is a critical phase as design teams expect productivity, QoR and stability. EDA vendors expect to see ROI through market growth.

Having multiple solutions in mainstream usage puts pressure on the need for vendors to differentiate. In order to differentiate emphasis will be on several key elements:

  • Integrated power methodology
  • Power exploration to identify design inefficiencies
  • Sequential power reduction
  • Memory power reduction
  • Power guidance on micro-architectural modifications
  • Clock Domain Crossing (CDC)-safe RTL modifications
  • Vector independent techniques
  • Automatic RTL modifications and verification
  • Differential power computation leveraging integrated power estimation

Clearly EDA does not see RTL Optimization as “job done.” Mainstream deployment will continue to benefit the design community as EDA vendors incrementally improve their solutions to differentiate from the competition.