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The Value Of Adaptive Body Biasing


By Bhanu Kapoor Although the use of power gating techniques is essential to manage standby leakage power, it brings in a host of new design and verification issues. This list of new design and verification issues includes putting together a power switch network, incorporating appropriate isolation and retention, addressing x-propagation, dealing with current spikes, and ensuring retention work... » read more

Challenges In Creating Power-Managed IP


By Bhanu Kapoor Creating low power IPs worked fairly well—at least until the process technology nodes for which leakage power wasn’t a big issue and clock gating was able to address dynamic power optimization. For 90nm and more advanced process technology nodes, leakage power became a dominant issue and the dynamic power needed better optimization. The use of voltage-based power management... » read more

Knowing When To Panic


By Bhanu Kapoor Sometimes we hear that the number of power domains in SoCs have increased significantly and that makes power management verification difficult. True, the numbers have gone up from say 2 or 3 to between 7 and 10, but these are not large numbers by any means and you can write tests to ensure that each of these power domains are covered for power related tests. Power-related tests... » read more

Why So Formal?


By Bhanu Kapoor Let’s take a look at the types of power management verification issues that are most suited for formal verification and how formal techniques complement dynamic simulation-based verification in some of the challenging tasks associated with validating SoC power management architectures. There are three main categories of formal tools in use today: Equivalence Checkers, Asse... » read more

Slow and Steady Wins The (Low-Power) Race


By Bhanu Kapoor Power is a key reason behind the shift in processor design to leverage multi-core architectures because it promises increase in performance without a proportional increase in energy consumption. For an application developer, today’s processors—microprocessors, as well as embedded system processors such as cell phone application processors and wireless sensor network n... » read more

The Formal Approach


By Bhanu Kapoor Power domains are required in the design due to stringent active and standby power specifications. Depending upon various modes of operation of a chip, power domains allow parts of a chip to be powered on/off independently from the rest of the chip. This has become common in all handheld and portable applications where stringent power requirements are a major competitive concer... » read more

Choosing A Power Delivery Network For SoCs


By Bhanu Kapoor The design and selection of an SoC power delivery network (PDN) presents unique challenges, and its design is critical to achieving power consumption goals of the design. This is true when your PDN is external and based on off-the-shelf components as well as when it is being designed on-chip as part of the SoC. This article explores the external situation. Power archit... » read more

Is Power-Aware Simulation A Must-Have?


By Bhanu Kapoor Is power-aware simulation-based verification necessary? This question has been frequently asked by the designers and becomes even more important in the context of potentially increased costs for simulation, with or without the recessionary environment. Those contending that it is not a must-have point to: --Power-managed designs were being done even when ... » read more

Things To Watch Out For


By Bhanu Kapoor A decoupling capacitor (DeCap) is used in power-managed designs to decouple a power domain from the effects of power switching in a related domain. A switching sub-circuit (a power domain or a voltage island) can mess up the power supply line upon which other sub-circuits or domains depend upon. When a load switches into a circuit, the circuit tries to increase its curre... » read more

Strategies For Power Management Verification


By Bhanu Kapoor In an earlier blog article, we took a look at some of the top power management verification issues. Typical power management verification strategy requires a combination of structural rule-checking, power-aware simulation, and formal validation to address these issues. In the previous blog article, we discussed the need for power-aware simulation and stressed the fact that... » read more

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