Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apache Design Solutions adds RTL Power Model to accelerate design of mobile devices

Apache Design Solutions, now a subsidiary of Ansys, has announced the addition of new technology  to the company's PowerArtist-XP software for developing a RTL Power Model (RPM). The company is targeting low-power applications such as mobile devices, where power budgeting is especially critical. 

RPM provides designers with a set of tools to predict power behavior directly from the register-transfer-level (RTL) description of a design, enabling decisions to be made earlier regarding power delivery networks (PDN) and IC packaging, prior to actual physical implementation. A user begins with PowerArtist-XP, which takes as input the RTL description, RTL test vectors, .lib and parasitic models.The RPM option then takes the output from PowerArtist's analysis and applies a proprietary algorithm, which Apache calls Fast Frame Selection, to identify a few power-critical cycles from millions of simulation vectors - one frame for di/dt and another for peak current. Vic Kulkarni, senior vice president of RTL business at Apache Design, says that Fast Frame Selection provides a 10-30X run time advantage over conventional time-based RTL power analysis. Each frame may contain 20 to 100 cycles, depending on a user's requirements, says Kulkarni.

RPM performs pre-synthesis power analysis by RTL inferencing, modeling common power format (CPF) or unified power format UPF, and computes average and per cycle power. Parasitic estimation in RPM is performed by the PowerArtist Calibrator and Estimator (PACE), which uses Apache's proprietary data mining and characterization techniques on a reference design that has completed physical implementation. Kulkarni says that users typically run PACE once on a given technology node, and the resulting power estimated from RTL with PACE is within 15% of gate-level analysis with Standard Parasitic Exchange Format (SPEF).

Designers can use the output from RPM as input for Apache's RedHawk dynamic voltage drop analysis tool. With Current Waveform Construction, RedHawk converts cycle-average power data per supply from RPM into a transient current waveform per power source. Designers can then use RedHawk with RPM to perform early stage static and dynamic analysis of power delivery networks (PDN), and to create a chip power model (CPM) for further AC and DC package power integrity analysis in Apache's Sentinel tool.

Apache will sell RPM as an option to PowerArtist-XP. The company is targeting a production release in Q1 of 2012, and is currently in several early customer engagements.

Related article:

No comments: