Formal Low-Power Verification Of Power-Aware Designs

How to ensure power intent is correctly implemented and that the functional design operates correctly after the insertion of power management circuitry.


Power reduction and management methods are now all pervasive in system- on-chip (SoC) designs. They are used in SoCs targeted at power-critical applications ranging from mobile appliances with limited battery life to big-box electronics that consume large amounts of increasingly expensive power. Power reduction methods are now applied throughout the chip design flow from architectural design through RTL implementation to physical design.

Power-aware verification must ensure not only that the power intent has been completely and correctly implemented as described in the Unified Power Format (UPF) specification [1] or the Common Power Format (CPF) specification [2], but also that the functional design continues to operate correctly after the insertion of power management circuitry.

Power estimates are made at several stages in the design flow, with accurate estimates becoming available only after physical layout. Consequently, design changes such as RTL modifications and layout reworks ripple back and forth through the design flow. This iterative power optimization increases verification and debug effort, project risk, and cost. The objective is to achieve the target power consumption while limiting the cost of doing so.

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