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RTL power tool packs sequential analysis

Posted: 02 Sep 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:power analysis  sequential analysis  accurate measurement  analyser 

Calypto Design Systems Inc. has developed what it claims to be the most accurate register-transfer level (RTL) power analysis capability by applying its patented sequential analysis technology.

Used to enable accurate power measurement in its PowerPro Analyser tool, the technique performs sequential analysis of the entire design, delivering power measurement results that are significantly more accurate than the decade-old RTL power analysis tools in use today.

According to Tom Sandoval, CEO of Calypto, previous tools have been based on combinational analysis which limits the accuracy of switching activity propagation compared to the actual sequential circuit activity.

"Sequential analysis ensures switching activity propagation estimated by the tool closely correlates with real life circuit activity," he said.

By dramatically improving RTL power analysis accuracy, he said PowerPro Analyser will enable designers to finally move away from time-consuming, gate-level power analysis flows.

"These flows require designers to run complex gate-level simulations in order to provide the power analysis tool with accurate design behaviour that emulates real-world functionality," said Sandoval. "Running those same simulations at the RTL level improves efficiency by 10x, often reducing the overall power analysis task time from days to hours.

"Moreover, RTL-level simulation is part of the standard simulation regression method used by designers to verify their design."

The RTL simulation results can be provided to Calypto's PowerPro Analyser without adding to design schedules.

"The inaccuracy of existing RTL power analysis tools has limited their adoption and forced the industry to continue using complex, schedule-extending, gate-level power analysis techniques," said Sandoval.

Where older solutions use simplistic propagation engines that do not correlate with real circuit behaviour, he said, Calypto's sequential analysis-based propagation engines capture temporal and spatial correlations across registers that simply cannot be taken into account by obsolete, combinational analysis-based solutions.

Because clock trees consume a significant amount of power in a design, he said, understanding how to model a clock tree with a substantial amount of clock gating is critical to accurate RTL power analysis.

Calypto's RTL power analysis capabilities have been integrated into a new version of PowerPro Analyser, which can be used as a stand-alone tool for RTL power analysis in SoC design flows.

PowerPro Analyser with block-level power analysis will be available in October and chip-level power analysis will be available in February 2010. The tool will be offered for a list price of Rs.24.42 lakh ($50,000).

PowerPro CG and PowerPro MG, RTL optimisation tools based on sequential analysis, each list for Rs.1.44 crore ($295,000) and include PowerPro Analyser. PowerPro CG is an automated clock gating power optimisation tool that reduces power by up to 60 per cent with little or no impact to timing or area.

PowerPro MG is an automated memory power optimisation solution that takes advantage of the low-power control options available in today's on-chip memories to reduce both dynamic and leakage memory power with little or no impact to timing or area.

- Bernard Cole

Get related application notes and technical articles on Power Design India.

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